Novak Djokovic wins appeal against deportation from Australia…..

Djokovic gets his belongings and passport back and is allowed to leave the hotel where he was staying. However, his participation in the Australian Open is still far from secure.

Novak Djokovic has won an appeal against deportation from Australia, with a judge ordering that he be released from hotel quarantine within 30 minutes.

Border officials previously ruled that the tennis star did not meet the criteria for an exemption to the requirement that all non-Australians be fully vaccinated against COVID.

Djokovic had spent four nights in an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne before the hearing got under way at around 10am local time.

Judge Anthony Kelly noted that Djokovic had provided officials with a medical exemption given him by Tennis Australia and two medical panels.

“The point I’m somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Mr Kelly asked Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood.

Sky reporter Nicole Johnston, outside the quarantine hotel, said the case was set to go back to the immigration minister and the department for home affairs to decide whether to reinstate the visa.

“Essentially the court found there was a failure in due process – that it wasn’t fair – so for now we wait to hear from the federal government,” said Johnston.

For now though, Djokovic will get his belongings and his passport back as his team waits for the government’s response.

The Australian Open begins on 17 January, with the Serbian star bidding to become the most successful men’s player ever.

Djokovic’s case has caused a political row after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “rules are rules” and any passenger was responsible for meeting border regulations.

Mr Morrison was accused of taking advantage of the case to improve his popularity ahead of elections.

One week before the start of the Australian Open and it’s hard to remember a more shambolic situation.

This extraordinary legal fight is a career-defining moment for Djokovic, who grew up in Serbia during the conflict in the Balkans.

He would practise his tennis in an empty swimming pool and occasionally run for cover when bombing raids started.

“It made us more hungry, more hungry for the success,” he has previously said.

If he is to come back from this, and maybe even win one more Australian Open, it would make him the most successful man ever to play the game.

There are many elite athletes who would have recoiled at the sight of the cramped room at the quarantine hotel, turned their nose up at the ropey food on offer and skulked back to their home country on the first plane available.

Novak though has stuck it out because he believes he has been wronged.

He is one of the most determined characters tennis has ever seen and whatever you think of him Djokovic is never easily beaten.

He has proved so many times – both on the court and now in the courts of Australia – it’s not over until it’s over.

Djokovic’s lawyers said the player should have been allowed to enter the country because he had recently had COVID and “was entitled to a medical exemption in accordance with Australian government rules”.

They filed papers that showed he tested positive last month and recovered.

They also showed the 34-year-old had received a letter from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer on 30 December stating that he had been given an exemption on these grounds. READ MORE

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