Sports | January 10, 2022 2:06 pm

Australian Judge Rules in Novak Djokovic’s Favor in Visa Hearing

Whether or not he will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open still remains to be seen

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic wearing a face mask. The 34-year-old recently had his visa restored after being detained in Australia ahead of the Australian Open in 2022.
Novak Djokovic at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 15 match on December 14 in Belgrade.
Srdjan Stevanovic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty

Up to this point, the narrative surrounding Novak Djokovic and this year’s Australian Open already resembles an ornate and even Dickensian novel. (Think Bleak House with more tennis and less spontaneous human combustion.) Until recently, the Serbian tennis star had been awaiting a ruling on whether or not he would be allowed to stay in Australia, which would then pave the way for him to compete in this year’s Open.

Djokovic has spent the last few days detained as a result of questions surrounding his COVID-19 vaccine exemption.

As reported in The New York Times, judge Anthony Kelly has ruled in favor of restoring Djokovic’s visa. Judge Kelly felt that the 34-year-old had taken all the steps that he could prior to the Australian government canceling his visa. “The point I’m somewhat agitated about is, what more could this man have done?” said Kelly.

This doesn’t mean that Djokovic is entirely cleared to play in the Australian Open, however. An article on the ruling at Intelligencer pointed out that Australia’s immigration minister retains the legal authority to cancel Djokovic’s visa, which would also bar him from entering the country for the next three years.

Following the ruling, Djokovic took to Twitter with an update. “I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation,” he wrote. “Despite all that has happened,I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen I remain focused on that.”

Despite the tone of this tweet, this saga isn’t over quite yet — and there’s likely to be more controversy in the days to come.