Following hours of deliberations, technical glitches and arguments from both sides, Justice Anthony Kelly ordered Djokovic to be released from a temporary hotel detention facility and his possessions returned within 30 minutes of the Monday ruling.
Justice Kelly also ordered the respondent in the case — the Australian Ministry of Home Affairs — to pay Djokovic’s legal costs.
Following the decision, a lawyer for the government said Australia’s Minister for Immigration reserves the right to personally intervene in the case. Christopher Tran, acting for the government, said Minister Alex Hawke retains ministerial power to remove Djokovic from the country, despite the ruling.
After the hearing, Djokovic tweeted that he was “pleased and grateful” at the outcome. He said that “despite all that has happened,” he wants to remain in country to “try to compete” in the Australian Open. He also thanked his supporters for standing with him and encouraging him to “stay strong.” He tweeted a photograph apparently showing himself and his coaching team on a court in Melbourne.
At a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, his brother thanked supporters. “Everything is completed, finally, and Novak is finally free. Novak was on the tennis court a little earlier, he trained a little bit, and this is how he fights for himself — he plays tennis,” Djordje Djokovic told the news conference.
“Novak did nothing wrong,” he added, saying he was thrilled that “the Australian legal system had come through for Novak.”
However, Djordje cut the press conference short when questioned about Djokovic’s positive Covid test on December 16 and his whereabouts in the days after.
Djordje confirmed that Djokovic had tested positive, and when a reporter asked if he was at an event on December 17, he stuttered and replied: “This press conference is adjourned.”
Sitting next to his son, Novak’s father Srdjan Djokovic can be heard telling Djordje “it is for the court” when the question is asked.
On December 16, the day he tested positive, Djokovic was photographed at three events, where none of the other participants are masked. The following day, he was also photographed at a youth awards event.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) called the series of events leading up to the hearing “damaging on all fronts” — including to the athlete’s well-being, according to a statement from the association on Monday.
The earlier ruling, held via video link at the Australian Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne, comes after days of speculation and public anger about whether the tennis star would be able to play in the Australian Open, despite being unvaccinated for Covid-19.
Faced with deportation and his hopes of winning a record 21st grand slam in jeopardy, Djokovic launched a legal challenge.
During the hearing, Djokovic’s legal team argued he had obtained the required medical exemption to travel to Australia and bypass vaccination restrictions for Covid-19. That…