Serbia calls Australia’s decision to deport Djokovic “scandalous”

Belgrade — The Serbian Prime Minister and Novak Djokovic’s family have accused Australian tennis stars of being “scandalous” deported for not being vaccinated with COVID-19 on Sunday. The Serbian president said he would always be welcomed in his hometown.

A unanimous decision by three judges who refused Djokovic’s appeal for visa cancellation was the last blow to his hope of chasing the Australian Open’s record 21st Grand Slam victory.

Djokovic’s family said in a statement that they were “extremely disappointed” with the Australian authorities’ decision, and that the court’s ruling was related to “politics and all (other) interests.”

“Despite the scandalous behavior against Novak, we believed the sport would win,” the family said.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brunavic also explained the decision to deport Djokovic as a “scandalous”.

“I’m disappointed … I think it shows how the rule of law works or shouldn’t be said in other countries. In any case, I’m disappointed. I can’t wait to meet Novak Djokovic in our country of Serbia, “Brunavich told Belgrade reporters.

The world’s top male tennis player was first detained by Australian immigration authorities on January 6 and ordered to be released from court on January 10, with Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke exercising his discretion to visa. After canceling, he was detained again on Saturday.

Djokovic, 34, was very disappointed with the court’s ruling and left Australia for Dubai on Sunday night after saying in a short statement that he would respect it.

Serbian President Alexander Vucci said he had spoken to Djokovic after the court’s decision. “I told him he was always welcome in Serbia,” Vucci told reporters.

In a statement, the Serbian Tennis Association (TSS) said, “The farce is over” and “politics has defeated the sport.”

“Novak Djokovic … was denied the opportunity to win the 10th milestone title (in Australia). Political pressure has revoked his visa to meet the’public interest’,” TSS said. ..

“The question now arises whether athletes will be imprisoned like criminals and deported when they meet the political interests of strong individuals,” he said.

Former professional water polo player Vanja Udovicic, the sports minister, said Djokovic is the greatest tennis player of all time. “Everything else is nonsense, shameful, absurd, and hypocritical! Legend, Serbian pride, we are with you,” he said.

In Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Djokovic’s hometown, some felt the need for vaccination, but many support him.

“Australia should be ashamed of itself, and I think that decision wasn’t just a decision. I’m sorry to Novak as a tennis player and as a person,” said student Danilo Milsic.

“If I were him, I would be vaccinated and avoid problems in the future,” said middle-aged computer programmer Aleksandar Janjic.