Novak Djokovic backed by ‘whole of Serbia’ as president blasts Australia for ‘harassment’
Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic insists the entire country is behind tennis icon Novak Djokovic and has blasted Australia by claiming they are “harassing” the world No 1. Djokovic was left under police guard in an immigration room at a Melbourne airport on Wednesday after being refused entry into the country.
A visa mix-up means that after a 14-hour flight from Dubai to the Tullamarine airport, the 34-year-old has still yet to be given passage into Australia.
Djokovic has been given a medical exemption to participate in the upcoming Australian Open although it is thought he is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The exemption has been granted despite strict Covid restrictions in Australia and the state of Victoria and has caused mass uproar.
Immigration officials then spotted an error in Djokovic’s paperwork before he landed and the state have confirmed they are refusing to support his application, instead saying it is an issue for the federal government to sort out.
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That has left Djokovic stuck in the airport without knowing if he will be allowed in, and the reigning Australian Open champion was kept overnight in a locked room after landing just after 11pm local time in Melbourne.
Vucic said on his official Instagram account: “Just finished a phone conversation with Novak Djokovic.
“I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end as soon as possible.
“In accordance with all the norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth. By the way, Novak is strong, as we all know him.”
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It has emerged that Djokovic’s team applied for a visa that does not allow for medical exemptions and that is what has caused the problem upon his arrival.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison had warned Djokovic that he needs to have the proper documentation to enter the country.
“If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any differently to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home,” Morrison said.
Djokovic’s father Srdjan said on Wednesday night: “I have no idea what is going on. They are holding my son captive for hours.
“If they don’t let him go in half an hour we will gather on the street. This is a fight for everyone.”
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Djokovic was held alone in his police-guarded room and was even without his mobile phone for around three hours before it was returned.
That was after he was questioned by officials with his coach Goran Ivanisevic posting on Instagram a selfie from inside the airport at 5am. The caption read: “Not the most usual trip Down Under.”
It is not yet clear what the grounds for Djokovic’s exemption were, with it known that the player has long been opposed to getting the Covid jab.
The Serbian is looking to become the first male player ever to win a 21st Grand Slam, overtaking Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The tournament at Melbourne Park gets underway on January 17 but it’s not yet clear if Djokovic will be involved.
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