A judge in Australia has overturned a decision to cancel the visa of tennis star Novak Djokovic. When Djokovic arrived in Australia last week, he was detained by immigration authorities because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
While Djokovic had been granted an exemption from a rule requiring all travelers entering the country to be fully vaccinated, immigration officials canceled his visa, claiming he did not meet the criteria for an exemption to the rule.
Djokovic appealed the decision, claiming that a previous COVID-19 infection he had in December qualified him for a medical exemption. The judge agreed and said that the world’s top-ranked tennis player was treated unfairly by officials after he arrived in Melbourne. The judge ordered his visa to be reinstated and said he could be released from quarantine.
Djokovic said that he hopes to play in the Australian Open next week as he vies for a record-setting 21st Grand Slam title.
“I am pleased and grateful that the judge overturned my visa cancellation,” Djokovic said in a statement. “Despite all that has happened in the past week, I want to stay and to try to compete at the Australian Open. I remain focused on that.”
“I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans. For now, I cannot say more but THANK YOU for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong,” he continued.
Despite the judge’s ruling, Djokovic is not in the clear. Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has the power to cancel Djokovic’s visa, and his office issued a statement saying he is “currently considering the matter.”