BELGRADE (Reuters) -Novak Djokovic’s family hailed the “biggest victory” of the world number one’s life and said the battle to overturn the cancellation of his visa would only make him stronger as he guns for a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
Djokovic returned to training after being released from Australian immigration detention on Monday, where he had been since Thursday after a dispute over his medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirements to play.
“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 in the Australian Open,” the Serbian wrote on Twitter, posting a picture with his team on court at Melbourne Park.
“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.”
Djokovic is aiming to lift a 21st major at the Australian Open, which gets under way on Jan. 17 to nudge ahead of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, with whom he is currently tied on 20.
The player’s family said his release was the “biggest victory of his life”.
“This will only give him the extra strength. They don’t know what they have done. He will win another 10 grand slams. Victory has made him even more eager to get back on to the court,” father Srdjan said.
“Novak is free and just a moment ago he went to the tennis court to practise,” Djokovic’s brother, Djordje, told the same news conference in Belgrade.
“He’s out there to set another record. He is an athlete and the best tennis player in the world of all times. Novak has always advocated freedom of choice, nothing more.”
Earlier on Monday, Judge Anthony Kelly ruled that the federal government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa last week was “unreasonable” and ordered his release.
The Australian government, however, could still deport Djokovic. A spokesman for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said that he was considering using his personal power to again revoke Djokovic’s visa.
(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic, Aleksandar Vasovic and Ivana Sekularac, Writing by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru, Editing by Gareth Jones, Hugh Lawson and Alison Williams)