Novak Djokovic breaks silence following release after winning appeal against deportation

By Meg Hill & Mark Staniforth

Novak Djokovic says he is “pleased and grateful” that his appeal against a decision to refuse him a visa in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia was successful and he wants to “stay and try to compete” at the Australian Open.

Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the visa cancellation and ordered the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release the Serbian from detention within half an hour.

But Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke is still considering whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation of Djokovic’s visa in a process that could drag on for a number of days.

The world number one tweeted: “I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen.

“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.”

At a press conference staged by the Djokovic family in Belgrade, his mother Dijana described her son’s successful appeal as “the biggest win of his career – bigger than any of the grand slams he has won”.

She added: “He has done nothing wrong. He hasn’t broken any of their laws, but he was subjected to torture, to harassment.

“He fought against that system and against that government because he thought had the right to be there with the visa that he got, and he went there to win that tournament.”

Djokovic’s brother Djordje revealed that he has already returned to the tennis court for the first time since his detention as he bids to make up for lost time ahead of his prospective start next week.

“Novak is free – a few moments ago he trained on a tennis court,” said Djordje.

“He went to Australia to play tennis, to try to win another Australian Open and to win a record that he has been chasing for so many years.”

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