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Tennis: an Australian judge orders the release of Novak Djokovic



Judge Anthony Kelly ended several days of legal battle by ordering on Monday January 10 the immediate release of Novak Djokovic, who, wishing to enter Australia without being vaccinated against Covid-19, has been held since his arrival in a center for migrants in Melbourne.

Christopher Tran, a government lawyer, warned, however, that Canberra could still decide to expel Novak Djokovic from the country, which would result in him being barred from entering Australia for three years.

→ EXPLANATION. Novak Djokovic, vaccination and Australia: the reasons for a diplomatic incident

The tennis player’s lawyers were trying to convince the federal court that the Serbian champion had contracted the Covid in December, which would exempt him from a compulsory vaccination to enter the territory. “What more could this man have done?” “, admitted during the hearing followed online by AFP the judge, who considered that Djokovic provided evidence, emanating from “Of a professor and an eminently qualified doctor” regarding his request for a medical exemption.

The “completely confused” player

The hearing opened late after a computer problem due to too many connections to attend its online retransmission, finally shared on YouTube in particular, despite a ban, by antivax. Djokovic, who did not speak at the hearing, finally obtained permission from the court to follow Monday’s proceedings from another, undisclosed location, before being forced to return to the detention center in the outcome of the hearings.

According to the sportsman’s lawyers, the player was “Completely confused”, when he was heard for several hours on the night of January 5 to 6 at Melbourne airport. They argued in particular that he was deprived of means of communication with his entourage during his interrogation. His lawyers say he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16. However, he attended the next day in Belgrade, without a mask, a ceremony in honor of young Serbian players.

The Australian Open, where Djokovic aims to afford a 21st Grand Slam tournament that would place him at the top of tennis history ahead of his two historic rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, begins in seven days and his participation depended entirely on Anthony Kelly’s decision.

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