Earlier on Thursday, media reports said that Novak Djokovic is “legally challenging” the Australian Border Service’s decision to cancel his visa, with the appeal due to be heard in a federal court on Monday.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has accused Australia of harassing tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, who was denied entry into the country after he arrived in Melbourne to take part in the Australian Open tournament due to open on 17 January.
The 34-year-old previously received a medical exemption from coronavirus vaccination rules, which was granted by the tournament’s organizers, something that has already caused a public outcry on Twitter.
Vucic wrote on his official Instagram account on Thursday that he had “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 [to be]”, the Serbian president added.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, for his part, rejected the accusations by telling reporters that his country has “sovereign borders and clear rules that are non-discriminatory” and that “all I can say is that the evidence [for a] medical exemption that was provided [by Djokovic] was found to be insufficient”.
Morrison earlier confirmed on his Twitter page that the tennis star’s visa has been revoked, adding “rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders”.
“No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant”, the prime minister stated.
The remarks came after the Australian Border Service (ABF) said in a statement that they would “continue to ensure that those who arrive at our border comply with our laws and entry requirements”.
“The ABF can confirm that Mr. Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently canceled”, the statement added.
The 34-year-old’s father, Srdjan Djokovic has, meanwhile, told Serbian media that his son was “held captive for five hours” at the Melbourne Airport and that he had “no idea what is going on”.
“This is […] not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world”, he claimed.
Since 5 January, Djokovic has been inside a Melbourne Airport room without members of his accompanying entourage. He is known for speaking about the freedom of choice as he continues to remain non-committal about getting jabbed, despite contracting the virus in 2021.
“The freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it’s me or somebody else. Doesn’t really matter whether it’s vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose”, the tennis star said in November.