Djokovic 'pleased and grateful' with court outcome as he sets focus on Australian Open

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Novak Djokovic is "pleased and grateful" after winning his court battle to stay in Australia and is focused on defending his title at the first grand slam of the year.

Following days of uncertainty regarding the world number one's participation at the Australian Open, it was ruled on Monday he should be immediately released from detention.

That came after authorities cancelled his visa last week, despite the Serbian being granted a medical exemption that allowed him to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status.

The Australian Border Force declared Djokovic must fly out of the country on Thursday, sparking the challenge that went in the tennis star's favour on Monday.

However, Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke could still cancel Djokovic's visa on new grounds, meaning his Australian Open participation is not yet 100 per cent known.

But speaking about the saga for the first time on Monday, Djokovic said he remains hopeful of competing at Melbourne Park next week.

"I'm pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation," he posted on his personal Twitter account.

"Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete at the Australian Open. 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."

In a follow-up tweet to his 8.9 million followers, Djokovic added: "For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong."

Twenty-time grand slam winner Djokovic posted the message at the same time that his family were holding a news conference in Belgrade, which he was expected to join via video link.

Djokovic's brother Djordje confirmed that the 34-year-old has already returned to the practice court ahead of the Australian Open, which he has won a record nine times.

After spending the weekend at a detention hotel in Melbourne as he attempted to defeat the deportation order, Djokovic's mother Dijana accused the local authorities of subjecting her son "to torture and harassment".

Dijana added: "This is his biggest win in his career – bigger than any grand slam."

Djokovic's father Srdjan praised the mental strength of his son and put Monday's verdict down as a victory for a wider cause.

"Over the past few days, it's been very, very difficult for everyone in the world who is free thinking. But he is mentally extremely, extremely strong," he said.

"They took away all his rights, as a human being. He refused to revoke his visa. They gave him no right to prepare his defence for several hours, and they took away his phone.

"Fortunately they gave him back his phone. He contacted his legal team who mounted a fantastic defence, that they could not match.

"This is a huge win for Novak, his family and the free world. He respected everything that was asked of him. He only wanted to go there to play tennis.

"Justice and the rule of law have prevailed. The judge who presided over the case has shown that not for a second was Novak the guilty party.

"The judge was fantastic, he simply respected the facts. He took the only decision that was possible which was to release Novak."

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