Novak Djokovic has broken his silence and expressed his gratitude after winning his appeal against the Australian government over the cancellation of his visa.
For now, the world No. 1’s Australian Open defense is back on track after a Federal Court hearing that spanned most of Monday ended in Djokovic’s favor.
The Serbian star was dramatically denied entry into Australia despite being granted a medical exemption to travel without proof of vaccination ahead of this year’s first Grand Slam event.
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Djokovic has been detained in an immigration detention hotel in Australia awaiting his Monday hearing, but after winning his appeal he went straight to Rod Laver Arena, the scene of his nine Open titles, for his first practice session since arriving in Australia.
He posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday morning Australia time thanking his supporters and declaring he’s now focused on defending his Australian Open title.
“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen,” Djokovic wrote.
“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 all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong.”
I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened,I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen
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. 👇 pic.twitter.com/iJVbMfQ037
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 10, 2022
Although, despite winning his original appeal, Djokovic isn’t completely off the hook.
After the verdict, government counsel Andrew Tran said the federal government would now weigh its options, which includes Immigration Minister Alex Hawke using his personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa once again.
If Djokovic has his visa canceled again by a minister, he will not be allowed to enter Australia for three years, which could see parties back in court once again.
It’s unclear when the federal government will make the decision on whether to use this personal power, although the judge presiding over Djokovic’s appeal Monday suggested this wouldn’t be the end of the matter.
“In a view, the stakes have risen rather than receded,” Judge Anthony Kelly said.
If Djokovic is given final clearance, he’ll be free to chase a record 21 Grand Slam titles, eclipsing both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (20), which would crown him as world tennis’ greatest player.