An Australian court has rejected the Serbian tennis star’s visa cancellation.
However, the Australian government may yet still order him to be deported.
Novak Djokovic won his right to stay in Australia after a judge ruled in his favor on Monday, finding the government’s decision to revoke his visa “unreasonable.”
But just hours later, news reports cited his father as claiming that the tennis star was rearrested.
Heavy police presence was reportedly seen outside his lawyers’ office in Melbourne. White vans were seen going in the building’s basement, according to local news channel 7News Melbourne.
“These vans are synonymous with transport to and from the immigration detention hotel where Djokovic has been staying,” it reported.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has a short window in which he could re-cancel Djokovic’s visa.
What happened in court?
Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the government to release right to stay in Australia within 30 minutes of the ruling, and return his passport and other travel documents to him.
The ruling briefly rekindled the world tennis number one’s hopes of winning a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.
Around 50 supporters of the Djokovic were gathered outside the Melbourne court, many draped in the Serbian flag. They were seen celebrating the news of the ruling with drum beating and dancing.
However, the court was told Australia’s immigration minister has reserved the right to exercise ministerial power to revoke Djokovic’s visa.
In response, the judge warned the government lawyers that “the stakes have now risen, rather than receded.”
Tennis commentator Steve Pearce said if the government does use executive power to cancel Djokovic’s visa, that would result in him being banned for three years from the country.
“It’s a really significant moment for the federal government in Australia,” he said.
“Does it stand by everything it’s been saying over this last week, that this man (Djokovic) shouldn’t be in the country, or do they let the court decision stand, and everything moves on? Really intriguing”