Novak Djokovic spends Orthodox Christmas in Melbourne detention

Novak Djokovic thanked his support “across the world”, Friday, Orthodox Christmas, from the Melbourne detention center where he was placed after his visa was revoked due to uncertainty surrounding his vaccination status.

• Read also: Why was Djokovic’s visa cancelled?

His case remains controversial in Australia, but also in Serbia.

“Thank you to my family, loved ones, Serbia and all the good people around the world who have sent me their support. Thank goodness for health,” he wrote on Instagram in a Serbian-language message, the first reaction since “Down Under.”

As a believer, he also wished a happy birthday to the Orthodox as about fifty people gathered under the windows of his house in the detention center.

Sach Aleksic commented in front of the institution used by the Australian government to detain people in an irregular situation and where the Serbian player despite his presence. It has not been officially confirmed.

Among the demonstrators are immigrant rights activists and “Antifax” or fans of the player.

Visa canceled

The Serb was placed in detention after his visa to enter Australia was revoked, from Wednesday to Thursday, on the grounds that he did not meet the strict entry requirements imposed in the fight against Covid-19.

Most foreigners are not allowed to travel to Australia, and those who can are fully immunized. Only Australian citizens are eligible for a medical waiver – like the one who claimed the world record when he left for Melbourne.

According to the Australian government, the papers of the 34-year-old, who has opposed compulsory vaccination and the vaccination status is unknown, did not meet the requirements. Accordingly, he was detained pending deportation.

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He will not be deported until Monday, when a new hearing before a Melbourne judge.

But the Australian muck is already asking questions about the rest of its season if it is not vaccinated, particularly in tournaments in the United States where a vaccine is mandatory to enter the territory.

The next Grand Slam is Roland-Garros in the spring French Sports Minister Roxana Maracinino confirmed on Friday that “health protocols imposed on major events by federations” allow “a person like Novak Djokovic to enter the territory” of France.

Thursday in Belgrade, the player’s family had already organized a demonstration in support of his beloved.

Without restraining his anger, the player’s father, Serjan Djokovic, addressed the public to denounce “political witch-hunts” and “halo fascism”.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic himself on Thursday denounced the “political manhunt” targeting Novak Djokovic.

On the Australian side, the feeling is very different: many locals, who have endured nearly two years of travel bans and months of confinement, made no secret of their anger when they learned the player had been granted a waiver.

Several players also voiced questions about Djokovic’s exemption, but the latter on Friday scored a boost – somewhat unexpected – from eccentric Nick Kyrgios.

“I got vaccinated because of other people and for my mother’s health, but the way we are dealing with Novak’s situation is very bad,” the Australian star, who was highly critical when Djokovic staged in June 2020, said in the watch. The start of the pandemic, “Adria Tour”, ignoring all precautionary health measures.

“Free to go”

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Djokovic had arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday hoping to defend his Australian Open title (January 17-30) and win his 21st Grand Slam title.

Two other people who came for the Australian Open are also the subject of an investigation, Home Secretary Karen Andrews confirmed.

The latter also denied allegations that the hero was being held against his will, saying, “He is free to leave whenever he wants, and the border guards will facilitate his departure.”

Conservative Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, already struggling with elections approaching, has defended himself for having Djokovic’s visa revoked at the last minute.

John Findley, an Australian immigration lawyer, said that if a court found a player had provided false information, he would be barred from reapplying for an Australian visa for three years.

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