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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Crisis ahead of Australian Open: Djokovic case becomes state matter

Crisis ahead of Australian Open: Djokovic case becomes state matter

DNovak Djokovic’s trip to this year’s Australian Open ended in a quarantine hotel room in Melbourne. They are not allowed to leave it till further notice. As a precaution, the judge, who decided on the Serb’s imminent deportation on Monday, asked about opportunities to train for world number one in tennis. Djokovic has won the Grand Slam tournament nine times. This year, however, his chances of participating are extremely slim. Because the 34-year-old has been arrested by Australian border authorities. When he arrived from Dubai on Thursday night, they did not recognize his special permit to enter the country without a corona vaccination. Meanwhile, border guards are checking the visas of two other members of the Tennis Circus who are already in Melbourne with similar permits.

Crisis Ahead Of Australian Open: Djokovic Case Becomes State Matter

Christopher Heino

Business Correspondent for South Asia/Pacific based in Singapore.

The Djokovic affair turned into a political turmoil on Thursday. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused Australia of “treating Novak Djokovic badly”. The tennis star was initially lodged in a room at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, which was shifted to the Park Hotel in the city center for quarantine. His fans went there to perform on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, his lawyers work to legally enforce his client’s involvement. At a second hearing on Thursday evening in Australia, Judge Anthony Kelly allowed the athlete to stay until at least Monday morning – officials and lawyers were unable to produce the papers needed for a judicial decision in time, so it was adjourned .

Djokovic’s lawyer tried to pressure the judge, saying he had to be free by Tuesday to play the tournament. Kelly was Australian and not impressed: “With all due respect, the tail is wagging the dog here,” he replied to the top athlete’s lawyer. Djokovic is charged with attempted unauthorized entry, which is a serious offence. Kelly said that even politicians would not be able to do much if the Serb team did not present valid papers. “Non-citizens who do not have a valid visa upon entry or whose visa has been revoked will be arrested and expelled from Australia,” the Australian Border Patrol previously said in no uncertain terms.

Serbian president went on the offensive

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at around the same time that Djokovic – contrary to his claims – had never had a “medical certificate of exemption”. But it is necessary if the visitor has not been vaccinated against corona twice – Joe Djokovic, who gives no information about this, does not think so. His rival Rafael Nadal said in Melbourne that he feels for Djokovic, but blamed the Serb: “He has known the circumstances for months. He makes his own decisions.”

Meanwhile, Serbian President Vucic went on the offensive. He told that he spoke to the player on the phone at around 8 am Australian time. “I told my Novak that all Serbia is with him and that our authorities are taking all measures to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world,” he wrote on Instagram in Serbian. “Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth.” Djokovic’s father, Sarjan, also heated up cross-national debate on the Internet. He told that his son was kept in a room at the airport for hours after a 14-hour flight, without him and without a mobile phone. “Novak is the Spartacus of a new world that will not tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy.” Then he resorted to threats: “You’re taking my son prisoner. If they don’t release him in the next half hour, we’ll gather on the street. This fight is for everyone.”

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