Australian court allows Djokovic’s entry after visa cancellation

An Australian court has ruled that world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic should be allowed to enter the country.

The ruling on Monday is likely to pave the way for Djokovic to play in the Australian Open starting on January 17.

Djokovic filed suit after he was refused entry upon arriving at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday. He has been held at an immigration detention hotel in the city.

All players at this year’s tournament must be fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption granted by state authorities and other bodies in Australia.

Representatives for Djokovic say he contracted the coronavirus last month, and that the tournament organizer notified them that he was granted an exemption.

But the Australian government denied Djokovic’s claim for an exemption merely based on a recent infection.

Monday’s decision paves the way for the tennis star to be released, however, the authorities have signaled they may intervene and move to reimpose the visa ban.

Much uncertainty still surrounds the case and the decision does not yet mean for sure that the top-ranked Serb will be free to compete.

The 34-year-old — who is not vaccinated against COVID-19 — has been fighting deportation to defend his title in Melbourne and win a record 21st Grand Slam title in the Australian Open which begins in a week’s time.

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion. He has 20 Grand Slam singles titles, a men’s record he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Fans of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic react to news of his overturned ruling outside Federal Court ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.

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