A judge at Melbourne’s federal court on Monday ordered the release of Novak Djokovic but the Australian government can still order his expulsion from the country. The world number 1 is therefore not yet out of the woods.
Last night, during his hearing broadcast by videoconference, Federal Judge Anthony Kelly was lenient with him.
After being postponed due to a computer problem, the hearing aimed to clarify the latest events that occurred when the Serbian player arrived in Melbourne on the night of January 5-6.
His lawyers first explained that Novak Djokovic had tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16, which would explain his non-vaccination against the virus.
Still held in a detention center for migrants, he was awaiting a decision from Judge Kelly, supposed to allow him or not to participate in the Australian Open, and to win the 21st Grand Slam tournament of his career.
In 13-page long conclusions, Australian government lawyers recalled that the Serbian “is not vaccinated against Covid-19”, which is mandatory to enter the country, while recalling that unvaccinated people are more likely to infect other people and therefore increase the workload of health systems. “This visa application must be refused”, they insisted.
Novak Djokovic had obtained a medical exemption to participate in the Australian Open (January 17-30) from the organizers and flew to Melbourne in the middle of last week. But when he arrived at the airport, he had seen his visa canceled by the authorities before being placed in an establishment for illegal refugees. His lawyers explained that he had obtained his exemption from compulsory vaccination on the grounds of a positive Covid-19 test on December 16 in Serbia, he who had already been infected in June 2020.
But, according to the Australian federal authorities’ vaccination exemption forms, a previous Covid-19 infection was not a valid reason to enter the country without being vaccinated. And this reason is all the more fragile as Djokovic participated in several public events the following days, without wearing a mask.