NOVAK Djokovic has vowed to play in the Australian Open after winning his visa court battle – despite ministers STILL threatening to deport him.
Despite a judge ruling the decision to cancel his visa was “unreasonable”, the anti-vaxxer – who returned to training in Melbourne today – could still be booted out of the country by the Aussie government.
Although he still faces being thrown out of Oz, Djokovic has insisted he wants to stay and compete after his parents today claimed he "suffered torture" while being forced to quarantine.
The world men's number one -who snapped smiling while handing out awards to a group of young tennis fans AFTER testing positive for Covid in December – tweeted today: "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".
Djokovic, 34, shared his message alongside a picture of him training in Melbourne ahead of the competition – although it is unclear whether the snap was taken today.
Ministerial powers could be used to again revoke Djokovic's visa and order his removal from the country, which would result in him being banned for three years.
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Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could use "personal discretion" to move ahead with another cancellation.
The Aussie government has confirmed Mr Hawke is still considering whether to cancel Djokovic's visa.
🔵 Read our Novak Djokovic live blog for the latest updates
“Following today’s Federal Circuit and Family Court determination on a procedural ground, it remains within Immigration Minister Hawke’s discretion to consider cancelling Mr Djokovic’s visa under his personal power of cancellation within section 133C(3) of the Migration Act," an immigration ministry spokesman said.
“The Minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing.”
Djokovic's mother Dijana today declared his anti-vax court victory the "biggest win of his career".
Speaking at a press conference from Belgrade, Serbia, she thanked fans for their support as she insisted her son had done "nothing wrong".
"We're here to celebrate the victory of our son Novak. He always fought for justice. He's done nothing wrong," she said.
"He went there to win that tournament. This situation has been extremely difficult. There has been a spectrum of emotions: sadness, fear, disappointment.
"There were moments when he didn't have his mobile with him. We had no idea what was happening.
"This is the biggest win in his career, it is bigger than any Grand Slam."
Djokovic's parents also blasted their son's treatment in quarantine, saying he "suffered torture" and had his "human rights taken away" after his demands for a personal chef and access to a tennis court were reportedly denied.
His father Srdjan says the star was not allowed contact with friends, family, his team or his lawyers.
"The game that has been played over the past five or six days has been incredibly difficult for him and his family," he said.
"He was met at the airport and they took away all the rights he had as a human being.
"They attempted to persuade him to sign that he was revoking his visa so that he could be sent back to Serbia – he refused to sign that document because there was no reason for it.
"They gave him no right to communicate with his lawyers, his team, his friends. They even took away his phone."
And Djokovic's brother Djordje referenced his decision not to get vaccinated, saying he has "always supported freedom of choice" as he revealed the sportsman had returned to training.
"Novak is an athlete, he is the best tennis player of all time," he added.
"Everything he supports in his life is to live up to his principles and ideals.
"Novak is free. A few minutes ago, he trained on a tennis court."
It comes after chaos erupted in Melbourne following claims Djokovic had been arrested just hours after his anti-vax court win as cops fired pepper-spray at fans.
Pictures show tumultuous scenes amid a day of farce in Melbourne as fuming supporters of the tennis ace swarmed a car leaving his lawyer's office as police battled to move them on.
The havoc came after Srdjan Djokovic, the father of the world's number one, bizarrely claimed anti-vaxxer his son was detained following a judge ruling for him to be freed from quarantine.
But in contradiction to his dad's arrest claims to Pavlovic Today, Djokovic's brother then reportedly told SportKlub that the tennis player is "with his lawyers" as ministers want to "capture and lock him up".
With the situation unclear, hundreds of outraged Djokovic supporters formed huge crowds outside his lawyer's office in Melbourne as groups blocked a car they believed to be carrying the tennis star.
Fans clashed with police who used pepper-spray in a bid to control them as they chanted Djokovic's nickname and hurled bottles as tensions escalated.
Photos later showed that the tennis star was NOT actually in the car – which had blacked out windows.
Serbia's parliamentary speaker Ivica Dacic has said he is concerned Djokovic could still be deported despite winning his visa battle.
"The process should have ended when the court ruled on the matter," he told Happy TV.
It comes after the judge ruled the decision to cancel his visa was “unreasonable” and ordered the government to pay his legal costs.
As it stood, Djokovic's passport and all personal effects were to be returned to him imminently.
He was given special permission to be with his lawyers for the ongoing court hearing.
The 34-year-old had been forced into a hotel which houses asylum seekers after a U-turn by Australian authorities.
His mum Dijana said he was being "kept like a prisoner" in a "small immigration hotel, if it is a hotel at all". She said the site was "dirty" and maggot-infested with "terrible" food.
'OPPOSED TO VACCINATION'
The Serbian nine-time winner Down Under was given his marching orders following a six-hour stand-off at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport.
His lawyers have argued that he was handed a vaccine exemption because he had recently recovered from the virus before his visa was dramatically cancelled.
His legal team claimed he only agreed to the cancellation because he was disorientated by lack of sleep, and left reeling by official's "procedurally unfair" treatment.
Court documents claim Aussie officials made "mischievous and spurious" attempts to rush him into signing off on the cancellation.
He was then detained, despite pleading to be moved to more elaborate digs with a tennis court or to have his private chef provide vegan meals – requests which were denied.
The ace has faced huge backlash from Australians, who have been split on the decision to detain him.
He has not openly spoken about his jab status, but last year did admit that he was “opposed” to vaccination.
He told reporters: "Personally I am opposed to vaccination.
"I wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel."
Timeline of events
Novak Djokovic touched down in Melbourne about 11.30pm on Wednesday night, and was swiftly taken in for questioning by Border Force officials.
He spoke with officials for six hours before a decision was made to cancel his visa.
That was done on the basis that he couldn't validate his medical exemption to arrive in Australia without a Covid jab.
He was taken to a detention centre in the city.
Immediately after his visa was cancelled, Djokovic and his team indicated they would fight the decision.
They appeared before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia on Thursday afternoon, where the matter was postponed until today.
Djokovic was informed by Tennis Australia that he was exempt to travel to Australia and play. It's understood his application was assessed by two bodies – one assigned by TA and the other by the Victorian state government.
On Saturday night, it was revealed via court documents that Djokovic had also received correspondence from the Department of Home Affairs – a federal body – which indicated he was free to travel to Australia.
But this has been revealed to be an arrivals assessment form, and not official confirmation he was granted quarantine-free travel.
No single party has accepted responsibility for the debacle, and at least one other tennis player has been sent home after they were initially approved with the same exemption.
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