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Judge orders immediate release of Novak Djokovic

Judge Kelly says hearing Novak Djokovic’s challenge to an order by the Australian government revoking his entry visa has dramatically overturned the decision.

The 34-year-old Serbian player flew into Melbourne last week, hoping to defend his Australian Open title, but Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still canceled his visa on new grounds.

The government acknowledged in court that Djokovic was not given enough time to respond following the notification to cancel his visa, the player was told he would have until 08:30 local time last Thursday to make comments about the visa cancellation under section 116 of the Australian Migration Act, but the Border Force made the final decision shortly after 07:40.

Judge Anthony Kelly ordered the release of the tennis star from detention and told the government to pay his costs.

According to the Judge, Djokovic could have had more time to make a submission about why his visa should not be withdrawn if authorities had stuck to the original time.

The trial began on Monday morning after delays caused by technical issues with a live stream of proceedings.

Lawyers for Djokovic argued that the 20-time Grand Slam winner entered the country on the understanding that his exemption from restrictions requiring travelers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 was valid.