Tennis/COVID: Serbian President accuses Australian Prime Minister of “mistreating” Djokovic
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic slammed Australia’s prime minister on Friday, saying the country’s authorities were “mistreating” tennis star Novak Djokovic after authorities revoked his visa for the second time.
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“Why are you abusing him, why are you attacking not only him, but also his family and the whole nation,” Vucic protested on Instagram.
The Serbian president’s comments come a few hours after Australia again canceled the world No.1’s visa, threatening him with a return on Saturday to detention, where he has already spent several days after entering Australia without respecting the obligation to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
An interview with the Australian immigration services is scheduled for Saturday morning on this subject, two days before the start of the Australian Open where the Serb hopes to conquer a 10th title and a 21st Grand Slam, which would be a record.
“If you wanted to ban Novak Djokovic from winning a 10th trophy in Melbourne, why didn’t you send him back immediately, why didn’t you tell him that it was impossible to obtain a visa for your country?” , Mr. Vukic asked. Before concluding: “Novak, we are by your side!”.
The Serbian president had already supported the player from the start of the affair by describing the retention of the world tennis star as a “political witch hunt”.
“Nole” had had his visa canceled for the first time when he arrived in Melbourne on January 5 and he had been placed in a detention centre.
His lawyers had then obtained from a judge that he restore his visa and order his immediate release on January 10. But the immigration minister finally canceled his visa again on Friday under his discretion. A decision taken “on the basis of health and public order,” said the minister.
Djokovic has admitted incorrectly completing his entry declaration to Australia and failing to follow isolation rules after testing positive for Covid-19 in December. A contamination which he hoped would allow him to benefit from an exemption to enter Australia without being vaccinated.
Djokovic pleaded ‘human error’ to explain how a wrong box in his entry form was checked.