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 stated he had failed to present sufficient proof to help his exemption.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić stated the nation had provided help to the world No 1. “I advised our Novak that the entire of Serbia is with him and that our our bodies are doing every part to see that the harassment of the world’s finest tennis participant is introduced to an finish instantly,” he stated in an announcement.

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 nations 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 offered 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 looking for medical exemptions to enter Victoria with out having to bear a 14-day quarantine. Djokovic, who’s opposed to vaccination, stated he had been granted an exemption to compete within the competitors though the precise nature of it’s unclear. The pinnacle of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, stated exemption functions had been de-identified and rigorously assessed, and that solely a handful of different gamers and officers had been granted exemptions out of 26 functions.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic
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, advised Russian media he was outraged by the remedy of his son. “Tonight they will throw him in a dungeon, tomorrow they will 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 received’t tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy.”

US participant Tennys Sandgren, an Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2018 and 2020, stated 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,” stated 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 a large shitshow”.

“I feel ScoMo [Australian prime minister Scott Morrison] made this a second as a result of the Australian public is so irritated by Djoker,” she stated on Instagram. “I might 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 sturdy 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 stated.

Australian tennis legend Rod Laver earlier advised the Herald Solar newspaper that Djokovic ought to reveal the medical exemption he was granted. “Sure, you’re a fantastic participant and also you’ve carried out and received so many tournaments, so, it may well’t be bodily. So what’s the downside?”

World No 1 Ashleigh Barty stated it had been troublesome for Australians, and Victorians specifically, in the course of 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 below the age of 18 to obtain a vaccine.

His coach, Jignesh Rawal, stated they’d provided for Dahiya to discover a dose and quarantine however had been refused, and he stated Dahiya was allowed to grow to be “collateral injury” of Australia’s insurance policies however Djokovic – initially – was not.

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

Morrison, who’s below fireplace over his refusal to make fast checks free or inexpensive to deal with main shortages and big PCR wait instances because the nation struggles with its worst ever outbreak, had sturdy phrases for Djokovic on Wednesday.

At a press convention he stated Djokovic can be “on the following aircraft residence” if he was unable to present proof of his medical exemption.

On Thursday morning Djokovic was reportedly taken to a quarantine resort forward of anticipated deportation.

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