Serbian president decries Djokovic ‘harassment’ amid reaction to visa cancellation | Novak Djokovic

The Serbian president has accused Australia of “maltreatment” of tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was denied entry to the nation after he flew into Melbourne with a medical exemption from coronavirus vaccination guidelines.

Djokovic was granted a controversial exemption to enter Australia and compete within the Australian Open, however was held up at Melbourne airport by authorities for a number of hours earlier than his visa was cancelled. The Australian Border Drive mentioned he had failed to present enough proof to assist his exemption, and the participant has now taken his case to courtroom.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić mentioned the nation had supplied assist to the world No 1. “I informed our Novak that the entire of Serbia is with him and that our our bodies are doing the whole lot to see that the harassment of the world’s greatest tennis participant is introduced to an finish instantly,” he mentioned in an announcement.

Serbian media reported Vučić had summoned Australia’s ambassador in Belgrade and demanded that they instantly launch Djokovic to compete.


Australian prime minister Scott Morrison rejected the harassment suggestion on Thursday, saying: “Australia has sovereign borders and clear guidelines which can be non-discriminatory as so many international locations do … it has to do with the honest and cheap utility of Australia’s border safety legal guidelines … all I can say is that the proof medical exemption that was supplied was discovered to be inadequate.”

In December Tennis Australia launched its Covid vaccination coverage for Melbourne’s grand slam which included a course of for gamers searching for medical exemptions to enter Victoria with out having to endure a 14-day quarantine. Djokovic, who’s opposed to vaccination, mentioned he had been granted an exemption to compete within the competitors though the precise nature of it has not been confirmed.

It’s understood the reigning Australian Open champion was counting on a earlier Covid an infection as the idea for his exemption to compete – however that isn’t recognised by the federal authorities.

The pinnacle of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, mentioned exemption purposes had been de-identified and rigorously assessed, and that solely a handful of different gamers and officers had been granted exemptions out of 26 purposes.


Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić has steadfastly backed Novak Djokovic. {Photograph}: Marko Djokovic/EPA

The preliminary approval sparked public outrage earlier than the tennis star had landed, and the cancellation of his visa solely added to the furore.

Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, informed Russian media he was outraged by the remedy of his son. “Tonight they’ll throw him in a dungeon, tomorrow they’ll put him in chains. The reality is he’s like water and water paves its personal path. Novak is the Spartacus of the brand new world which gained’t tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy.”

US participant Tennys Sandgren, an Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2018 and 2020, mentioned Australia didn’t deserve to host a grand slam. “Simply to be crystal clear right here, two separate medical boards authorised his exemption. And politicians are stopping it,” mentioned Sandgren, who has additionally opted not to get vaccinated or play within the match.


Renae Stubbs, a former Doubles world No 1 and ESPN host, described the scenario as “formally an enormous shitshow”.

“I feel ScoMo [Australian prime minister Scott Morrison] made this a second as a result of the Australian public is so aggravated by Djoker,” she mentioned on Instagram. “I’d be ropeable if I used to be [Djokovic]. Additionally the opposite lesson is, get vaccinated.”

Morrison on Thursday confirmed Djokovic’s visa was cancelled, saying “guidelines are guidelines” and praising federal Covid insurance policies, a day after saying such exemptions had been a matter for state governments. “Our robust border insurance policies have been crucial to Australia having one of many lowest demise charges on the earth from Covid, we’re persevering with to be vigilant,” he mentioned.

Australian tennis legend Rod Laver earlier informed the Herald Solar newspaper that Djokovic ought to reveal the medical exemption he was granted. “Sure, you’re an excellent participant and also you’ve carried out and gained so many tournaments, so, it will possibly’t be bodily. So what’s the drawback?”

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty mentioned it had been troublesome for Australians, and Victorians specifically, throughout the pandemic however that she had “little interest in talking about Novak’s medical historical past”. She added: “I perceive why they might be annoyed with the choice [to grant Djokovic an exemption].”

The coach of 17-year-old Indian tennis participant Aman Dahiya, who was denied an exemption to play the Australian Open junior championships, additionally accused Australian and tennis authorities of double requirements over Djokovic’s early approval. Dahiya was denied entry as a result of he was unvaccinated, as a result of India has not but allowed individuals underneath the age of 18 to obtain a vaccine.

His coach, Jignesh Rawal, mentioned that they had supplied for Dahiya to discover a dose and quarantine however had been refused, and he mentioned Dahiya was allowed to turn out to be “collateral harm” of Australia’s insurance policies however Djokovic – initially – was not.

“It shouldn’t be totally different,” he mentioned. “The circumstances don’t matter. The rule is for those who don’t have two vaccine doses you can’t enter,” he mentioned. “Djokovic can have particular remedy on the courtroom (like centre courtroom precedence) however the entry level has to be the identical.”

Morrison, who’s underneath hearth over his refusal to make speedy assessments free or inexpensive to tackle main shortages and big PCR wait occasions because the nation struggles with its worst ever outbreak, had robust phrases for Djokovic on Wednesday.

At a press convention he mentioned Djokovic could be “on the following airplane house” if he was unable to present proof of his medical exemption.

On Thursday morning Djokovic was reportedly taken to a quarantine lodge forward of potential deportation however his legal professionals have launched authorized to get hold of an injunction.

In a snap listening to earlier than Decide Anthony Kelly of the federal circuit courtroom of Australia, it was prompt a full listening to could possibly be heard on Monday.

The courtroom heard Tennis Australia mentioned it will want to know whether or not Djokovic may compete by Tuesday for scheduling functions. The courtroom was additionally requested whether or not Djokovic could possibly be moved to a lodge with a tennis courtroom so he may practise.

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