Novak Djokovic facing anxious wait over Australia visa appeal
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Novak Djokovic’s father has likened his son’s treatment in Australia to the crucifixion of Jesus in a hastily held press conference in Belgrade on Thursday. The world No 1 appeared to have all the correct paperwork sorted earlier this week to arrive in Australia with a ‘medical exemption’.
But while Djokovic was in the air and on his way to Melbourne, the Australian Border Force found an issue with the player’s visa application.
After spending hours being detained at the airport, it was later announced on Wednesday that Djokovic’s visa had been revoked and he wouldn’t be allowed through.
Instead, the 34-year-old was sent to a quarantine hotel while his lawyers battled to have the decision overturned.
The appeal has been adjourned until Monday while Djokovic’s request to leave the Park Hotel to join up with his team at a private apartment has also been denied.
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Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, has been outspoken on the treatment of his son in the past 24 hours.
And the Serbian tennis superstar’s family held a press conference on Thursday where Srdjan sat in the middle Dijana Djokovic and Djordje Djokovic.
The family spoke about conversations they have had with the 20-time major champion since his arrival in Melbourne.
Djordje said they were on the phone with his brother for 45 minutes while the tennis supremo was in discussions with border police before his mobile device was confiscated for “three and a half hours”.
But father Srdjan Djokovic was clearly emotional in the press conference has likened his son’s treatment by Australian authorities to Jesus’ crucifixion.
“Jesus was crucified and everything was done to him, and he endured, he is still alive among us,” he said.
“They are trying to crucify Novak in the same way, to underestimate him, to throw him to his knees, to do everything to him.
“My late grandmother Sara Jaukovic from Savnik always said ‘shame on you, girl, when you don’t have a face’.
“Well, I’m telling them now, shame on you when you don’t have a cheek. To do the best athlete, tennis player in the world.”
Dijana Djokovic also took aim at the Australia authorities for treating her son like a “prisoner”.
She said: “They are keeping him like a prisoner, it’s just not fair, it’s not human. I hope he will stay strong as we are also trying, to give him some energy to keep going. I hope he will win.’
“His accommodation [is] terrible. It’s just some small, immigration hotel, if it is a hotel at all. With bugs, it’s all dirty, the food is terrible.
“They don’t want to give him a chance to move to a better hotel or a rented house.”
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