The world’s number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is staying in Australia’s immigration detention after his visa was canceled due to the country’s COVID-19 strict rules. Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic raised her voice to support her country’s national idol.
According to Reuters, Djokovic arrived at a Melbourne airport on Wednesday, June 5, expecting to attend the Australian Open this month, but Australian authorities kept him detained at the airport due to problems with his vaccination status. He has been in immigration detention in a Melbourne hotel since Thursday.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, PM Brnabic revealed that Djokovic is staying in the Park Hotel until the final decision.
“We’ve managed to make sure gluten-free food is delivered to him, as well as exercising tools, a laptop and a SIM card so that he is able to be in contact with his family,” the Serbian leader said.
Brnabic added that her government stood ready to provide all necessary guarantees to allow the tennis champion to enter Australia.
Djokovic is appealing the Australian government’s decision, arguing in a court filing that he had received the exemption from tournament organizer Tennis Australia, with a follow-up letter from the Department of Home Affairs saying he was allowed into the country, Newsmax reported.
“I explained that I had been recently infected with COVID in December 2021 and on this basis I was entitled to a medical exemption in accordance with Australian Government rules and guidance,” Djokovic said in the filing.
Djokovic revealed that he had told Australian Border Force officers that, “I had correctly made my Australian Travel Declaration and otherwise satisfied all necessary requirements in order to lawfully enter Australia on my visa.”
A court hearing will be held on Monday over his visa cancellation.
The drama over the well-known tennis player has triggered tensions between Serbia and Australia. However, Brnabic said that she had discussed with Australian officials and that the talks had been constructive.
According to Breibart, Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has accused the Australian authorities of holding his son “captive” over the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I have no clue what’s going on. They’ve kept my son in captivity for five hours now,” Srdjan said. “If they don’t let him go in half an hour, we’ll gather in the streets, this is a battle for everyone.”