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Novak Djokovic 'focused' on Australian Open

Novak Djokovic says he is focused on playing in the Australian Open next week after winning a court battle that overturned his visa cancellation.

The 34-year-old Serb said he practised on court in Melbourne within hours of leaving an immigration detention hotel.

But Australia’s immigration minister still has powers to re-cancel the visa and deport the unvaccinated player.

“Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete in the Australian Open,” Djokovic tweeted.


The statement continued: “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.”

Djokovic also posted a photo of himself and his team – including coach Goran Ivanisevic – on court at the Rod Laver Arena, where he has won a record nine men’s singles titles.

The Australian Open begins on 17 January and if Djokovic wins, he will become the most successful men’s player in history.

The world number one is tied with Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

Djokovic posted his message on Twitter at the same time his family – parents Srdjan and Dijana, along with younger brother Djordje – were holding a news conference in Serbian capital Belgrade.

Dijana Djokovic said overturning the decision to revoke his visa was the “biggest victory” of her son’s career.

She also claimed he had been “subject to torture and harassment” while staying in an immigration hotel where refugees and asylum seekers have long complained of poor conditions.

The family was “pleased that justice has prevailed”, said Djordje Djokovic.

“Novak is out there to set another record. He is an athlete and the best tennis player in the world of all times,” he added.

“Novak has always advocated freedom of choice, nothing more.”

Judge Anthony Kelly ordered Djokovic’s release after the government acknowledged in court that he was not given enough time to respond following the notification to cancel his visa.

Yet it is still not guaranteed he will be able to step on to the court next week, when he is set to start the defence of his title.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke is still considering revoking Djokovic’s visa. The MP is able to act using broad discretionary powers granted him by Australia’s Migration Act.

A spokesman for Mr Hawke said the decision was an “ongoing process”. An announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.

That late night practice session at Melbourne Park must have been one of the most exhilarating of Novak Djokovic’s career.

Having won an unexpected victory in an altogether different court earlier in the day – with the judge expressing sympathy for him throughout – his hopes of a 10th Australian Open title are still alive.

Australian Border Force suggested Djokovic brought little evidence into the country to support his medical exemption. Judge Kelly saw it completely differently, asking “what else could he possibly have done?”

But the world number one is not able to relax just yet, as the Australian immigration minister is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to use his personal power to cancel the visa for a second time.

And in the days ahead Djokovic will also need to justify why he posed for photographs with children at a prize-giving the day after his December positive PCR test was confirmed.


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