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Djokovic wins appeal against visa cancellation – but lawyers suggest deportation still possible

The first round of the court battle is over – but there may yet be more drama

A supporter of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic holds his photo during a rally outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 9, 2022. || 217412_0006

A federal judge has upheld Novak Djokovic’s appeal against the cancellation of his visa – but the government lawyers have indicated that ministers are looking into the possibility of revoking it anyway.

The shock news arose as lawyer Christopher Tran responded to Judge Anthony Kelly in court. Judge Kelly, for his part, said that he would not wish to encroach on any minister’s ability to exercise their individual power – but spoke at length about the importance of everyone playing by the same rules.

“The stakes have now risen rather than receded,” the judge added.

If an individual minister cancelled Djokovic’s visa it is possible that he would then be banned from re-entering the country for three years. That decision too could be appealed – but the Australian Open begins in one week and Djokovic and his team may run out of time to go through the necessary legal procedures ahead of the start of play.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is currently free to leave immigration detention – with the rules saying he must have his passport and any personal items returned to him within 30 minutes of receiving the judgement.

Doubles specialist Renata Voracova entered Australia on the same visa as Djokovic but opted to leave the country rather than becoming embroiled in a legal challenge.

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