Novak Djokovic, the world number one in men's tennis, has thanked people "around the world" for their support, as he awaits a verdict on his expulsion from Australia. Djokovic arrived in Australia this week to compete in the Australian Open after receiving a controversial exemption from the country's immunisation requirements. On landing, however, he was abruptly denied admittance.
On Friday, the tennis star, wrote on Instagram, "Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated."
Djokovic is currently being held in Melbourne's immigration detention centre, with a court hearing scheduled on Monday. Djokovic was granted an exemption by two independent medical panels convened by Tennis Australia, the event's governing body, and Victoria state. Officials with the Australian Border Force (ABF) stated the 34-year-old player failed to present adequate evidence at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday.
The player's lawyers filed an appeal to reject the federal government's decision, and a judge agreed not to deport him until a full hearing on Monday. Further, Djokovic's wife, Jelena, also took to social media to thank the player's supporters for their support. Srdjan Djokovic, Djokovic's father, staged a protest outside the National Assembly buildings in Belgrade on Thursday and spoke at a press conference. In the row, he claims, the tennis player has been made a scapegoat and "crucified."
Although more than 90% of the country's adult population is fully vaccinated, they are nonetheless subjected to limitations as the number of cases of COVID-19 rises. It's unclear how long Djokovic will be held at the immigration detention facility, which has been criticised by migrants for its inhumane conditions. Serbia has demanded that Australia relocate him to a more upscale hotel.
The Australian Open will begin on January 17th. Djokovic was attempting to win the tournament for the tenth time, making him the most successful player in men's tennis history with 21 Grand Slam titles.