Djokovic’s family accuse Australia of treating tennis star ‘like a criminal’ as he awaits deportation decision

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Djokovic’s family accuse Australia of treating tennis star ‘like a criminal’ as he awaits deportation decision
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Novak Djokovic’s family have accused Australia of treating the tennis number one “like a criminal” as he waits to find out if he will be deported.

They rallied around the 20-times grand slam champion on Thursday after he was denied entry into the country to defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old was granted a medical exemption from Covid-19 vaccination requirements to compete in the year’s first major, but following an outcry was taken from taken by border officials from the city’s Tullamarine airport to a detention hotel.

Djokovic is now in a quarantine hotel after his lawyers secured an agreement for him to stay in the country for a court hearing on Monday, in which he hopes to overturn a federal government ban on his entry.

At a press conference in the Serbian capital Belgrade, Djokovic’s family said he was the victim of a “political agenda” in Australia.

Srdan Djokovic speaks during a protest in Belgrade (AP)
Srdan Djokovic speaks during a protest in Belgrade (AP)

“They’re keeping him in captivity. They’re stomping all over Novak to stomp all over Serbia and Serbian people,” Djokovic‘s father Srdjan told reporters.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier that Djokovic would receive no special treatment.

“Morrison and his like have dared attack Novak to bring Serbia to its knees. Serbia has always shown that he comes from a proud nation,” Srdjan said.

“This has nothing to do with sports, this is a political agenda. Novak is the best player and the best athlete in the world, but several hundred million people from the West can’t stomach that.”

Djokovic‘s mother Dijana described the situation as “scandalous”.

Around 300 fans gathered for the protest (AP)
Around 300 fans gathered for the protest (AP)

“They want to clip his wings, but we know how strong he is,” she said.

Djokovic‘s family later held a rally in front of Serbia’s parliament building in the city centre with around 300 of his fans, some draped in Serbian flags and chanting slogans in support of the player.

His father told the crowd that the protests would be held every day until his son was released.

Novak Djokovic supporters rally outside Melbourne’s Park Hotel where he was thought to have been taken (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic supporters rally outside Melbourne’s Park Hotel where he was thought to have been taken (Getty Images)

Meanwhile Djokovic’s brother calling the situation the “greatest sporting and diplomatic scandal”.

“He was taken to a migrant hotel to a dirty room without any belongings, which he was told would be returned to him upon his return to Europe.

“He was treated like a criminal while he is a healthy and decent man and a sportsman who has not endangered anyone’s life and has not committed any federal or legal offence.”

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