Well, Djokovic Won
But the saga may not be over yet.
World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has won his Australian visa battle and will be released from detention immediately.
In a hearing on Monday afternoon, the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was overturned. The decision was read out just after 5pm on Monday after lengthy delays due to technical difficulties and other issues delaying the hearing.
Judge Anthony Kelly read out a minute agreed to by both Djokovic’s team and the representatives of the Australian Government, in which Djokovic will be released from detention within 30 minutes of the hearing concluding.
The court also ruled that the government will foot the legal costs for the ordeal.
According to minutes from the hearing, Djokovic was allowed until 8:30am — when he was originally detained at Melbourne International Airport — to respond to the notification to cancel his visa, however, the decision was made at 7:42am, before this time had expired. Djokovic argued that he could have sought further advice had he been given more time.
Throughout the hearing, Judge Kelly repeatedly questioned what more Djokovic could have possibly done to be granted legal access into the country. “The point I’m somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” The judge said during the hearing.
Nicholas Wood, the leading attorney for Djokovic argued that he met the criteria and received a travel declaration from the federal government before arriving in Australia, and provided evidence of his medical exemption to Border Force officials.
“To [Djokovic’s] understanding, uncontradicted, he had done absolutely everything that he understood was required in order for him to enter Australia,” said Wood. “He did understand he had ticked every box.”
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will now consider whether or not to exercise a personal power of cancelling Djokovic’s visa, which is well within the minister’s rights. If this happens, Djokovic cannot return to Australia fo the next three years.
Djokovic is yet to publicly comment.