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Novak Djokovic breaks silence after winning appeal against deportation from Australia

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Novak Djokovic has confirmed he intends to defend his Australian Open title after winning his appeal against being denied entry to the country.

Djokovic was released from an immigration facility in Melbourne on Monday after Judge Anthony Kelly quashed an order to cancel his visa following scrutiny over his medical exemption for the Covid vaccine.

“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation,” Djokovic posted on Twitter, along with a picture of him and his team following a training session at the Rod Laver Arena.

“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.

“For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong.”

Djokovic posted the statement, only his second message since he was detained following his arrival into Australia on Thursday, as his family was holding a press conference in his native Serbia.

His brother, Djordje Djokovic, said: “Novak has trained, he was on the tennis court, he went to Australia to play tennis. To try and win another Australian Open and win a record that he’s been chasing for many years, he had all the documents required of him, he got a medical exemption to travel to Australia.”

Djokovic’s legal team filed papers to appeal against border control’s original decision confirming that he had tested positive for Covid on 16 December last month and recovered.

He used that as grounds in applying for a medical exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules, but Djokovic’s family refused to answer questions about his positive Covid result after pictures emerged of him out in public on 17 December.

The decision to allow Djokovic, a nine-time champion in Melbourne, into Australia means he now has the chance to defend his 2021 title and move ahead of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal with a record 21st Grand Slam title.

However, government counsel Christopher Tran notified the court that the minister for immigration, Alex Hawke, will now consider whether to exercise a “personal power of cancellation” of Djokovic’s visa that could ultimately see him banned from Australia for three years.

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