Tennis pro Novak Djokovic won his court battle to remain in Australia Monday morning after border officials canceled his visa, but his fight with the Australian government may not yet be over.

Claiming “medical exemption,” which was granted to him by Tennis Australia, Djokovic revealed to the court that he tested positive for Covid-19 just this last December. This recent contact with the virus cleared him with Tennis Australia’s independent panel, winning the approval of Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly as well.

Posting a photo from the Australian Open tennis court during training, Djokovic seemed in all smiles after news broke that the judge issued a veto. Meanwhile, confused supporters fought with police outside his lawyer’s office.

The chaos has left fans with many questions regarding his status in the country, his ability to play, and whether or not the Australian government will have the final say on his possible deportation.

CAN NOVAK DJOKOVIC STILL BE DEPORTED?

As of Monday, Djokovic has won his right to stay, but Australian border officials are standing firm on their belief that letting unvaccinated people into the county may still pose major public health risks.

Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister, still possesses “personal power” to send Novak back to Serbia. According to The Guardian, the minister could determine that it is “in the public interest” to cancel his visa and deport Djokovic over the judge’s ruling.

Hawke was also cited as a supporter of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who previously sided with border officials about not letting Djokovic into the country on any special provisions.

“The rule is very clear,” Morrison said last Thursday. “You need to have a medical exemption. He didn’t have a valid medical exemption. We make the call at the border, and that’s where it’s enforced.”

The final decision to deport Novak rests in the immigration minister’s hands but doing so comes with some significant consequences.

If your visa is canceled under this provisional power, The Guardian reported, you’re banned from entering the country for over three years.

Such a decision would be extremely detrimental to both Novak Djokovic and the Australian Open. While, the tournament would lose its defending champion and world No. 1 player for three years, Djokovic would also lose the ability to play in one of the most important annual tournaments, resulting in significant harm to his career, ranking, and income.

No timetable was given regarding how quickly Hawke must come to a decision whether or not to deport Djokovic, but the tournament begins next Monday, Jan. 17.

Anti-vax protesters in Australia clash with police outside of Novak Djokovic's Park Hotel
Anti-vax protesters in Australia clash with police outside of Novak Djokovic’s Park Hotel. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

WILL DJOKOVIC BE ALLOWED TO PLAY IN THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN?

After winning his case with Judge Anthony Kelly’s veto, Novak Djokovic is now cleared to enter the first round of the tournament.

“Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete,” the tennis pro wrote in a series of Tweets on Monday. “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.”

With qualifying rounds still underway, draws for Men’s singles have yet to be announced, meaning that is it unknown who will be Djokovic’s first opponent. The draw is expected to be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 13.

Though Tennis Australia has yet to comment on the court’s decision, it is highly likely that he is still considered medically exempt by the organization and will be featured in the upcoming tournament.

WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR DJOKOVIC IN THE TOURNAMENT THIS YEAR?

Novak Djokovic is not only the defending champion, but 2021’s defending world No. 1 ranked tennis player. He has won the Australian Open nine times over the course of his professional career and will now be seeking his 10th.

Djokovic is also hoping to beat the record for the most grand slam tournaments won, at 20 titles. He is currently in a tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Should he win another major tournament, he would hold the most grand slam single’s titles out of any male tennis player in the history of the sport.