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Novak Djokovic supporters pepper-sprayed after tennis pro gets visa reinstated

Novak Djokovic supporters pepper-sprayed after tennis pro gets visa reinstated

A crowd of Novak Djokovic supporters were pepper-sprayed in Melbourne late Monday night after surrounding a car believed to be carrying the tennis pro after a judge ruled to reinstate his visa, reports say. 

Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly ruled the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was “unreasonable” and that he had not been given enough time to speak to his lawyers before the decision was made on the basis that he did not provide sufficient evidence for a medical exemption. 

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A car believed to be carrying Djokovic leaves Collins Street surrounded by Serbian tennis fans on Jan. 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. 
(Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

A large crowd of supporters, some carrying Serbian flags, gathered outside his attorney’s office after Djokovic’s release was ordered. As a black car began to exit, the crowd surrounded it with some even dancing on the vehicle and banging on its windows.

Police use pepper spray to disperse supporters of Serbia's Novak Djokovic outside the offices of his legal team as a car leaves the building in Melbourne on Jan. 10, 2022. 

Police use pepper spray to disperse supporters of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic outside the offices of his legal team as a car leaves the building in Melbourne on Jan. 10, 2022. 
(WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

According to The Age, police began using pepper spray on some supporters. As the crowd dispersed, some began confronting officers and throwing bottles.

The vehicle in question was reportedly carrying Djokovic or someone connected to his coaching staff. 

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The World No. 1 took to Twitter on Monday to thank his supporters, adding that his hope to be able to participate in the Australian Open set to begin on Jan. 17. 

“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation,” he wrote. “Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete [at the] Australian Open. 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.”

Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. 

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Mark Dadswell, File)

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“For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong,” he said in a second tweet. 

Despite having his visa reinstated, Djokovic could still be deported depending on the federal government’s decision to revoke his visa again – a move that would ban him from the country for three years. 

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