Australian Court Grants Tennis Champion Novak Djokovic Visa Appeal

Tennis player Novak Djokovic speaks during a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia, July 26, 2017. (Andrej Isakovic/Reuters)

An Australian court granted Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic his visa appeal, which he filed after the government rejected his entry papers over an allegedly inadmissible medical vaccine exemption.

The judge’s decision reverses the government’s cancellation of his visa, stalling deportation at least for now and allowing the star to compete in the 2022 Australian Open next week, where he will defend his long-standing title.

While Djokovic abstained from receiving the shot, which is required for admission into Australia, he argued that he had natural immunity from prior infection last month that qualified as a legitimate medical exemption to the vaccine. He claimed he tested positive, court documents show, but did not experience symptoms. Australian medical authorities ruled that a temporary pass of entry can be provided to applicants who had contracted the virus within six months.

Tennis Australia, which organizes the Australian Open tournament, and two medical panels had approved Djokovic’s medical exemption before he attempted to travel to the country, Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly said.

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