After world tennis great Novak Djokovic was held in a room guarded by police while his deportation from Australia is being decided, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic rejected such “abusive behavior” and demanded his release.

“I just finished a phone call with Novak Djokovic,” Vucic said, adding, “I told Novak that all of Serbia was with him. We are doing everything to end this abuse as soon as possible,” according to Sport Global on Jan. 6. 

He also wrote on Instagram, “By all standards of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, with justice and truth. Moreover, we all know that Novak is very strong.”

As a first step, Vucic summoned the Australian ambassador in Belgrade to convey his demand to the Australian government, leading to a diplomatic incident between Canberra and Belgrade, the two capitals involved.

For Serbian reporter Sasa Ozmo, Djokovic’s refusal of immigration and his detention is considered a “public humiliation”.

Djokovic arrived in Melbourne from Dubai, but was taken to a separate room because he apparently did not comply with immigration rules, facing an immediate deportation order.

It should be noted that the great tennis world champion had received a vaccination exemption that allowed him to play in the Australian Open, so the government’s action in preventing him from entering the country is seen as incoherent.

A legal battle led by Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood, ensued, and Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly declared a delay in receiving the application for review of the visa decisions and the temporary ban on Djokovic’s deportation. 

The case was adjourned to Monday, Jan. 10. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Rules are rules and there are no special cases”.

He added: “It is on [the traveller] to have the proof to show why they would not have to be vaccinated. [Djokovic] was unable to furnish that proof to Border Force officers at the airport last night and they are the rules.” 

It is not known whether Djokovic has been inoculated against the Covid-19 virus, but for his father, Srdjan Djokovic, he became the “symbol and leader of the free world,” and the “Spartacus” of a new world, one that “does not tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy.”

He also stated, “My son Novak Djokovic has shown that a small, but heroic country like Serbia, can have the best tennis player and sportsman of all time and that truth can no longer be hidden,” adding that, the “rich world” may not allow his son to continue to play tennis.”

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