Novak Djokovic returns to immigration detention hotel pending deportation decision

Novak Djokovic returns to immigration detention hotel pending deportation decision

DJokovic’s main rivals have grown increasingly impatient with the uncertainty hanging over the draw and the cloud hanging over their sport.

“Honestly, I’m a bit tired of the situation because I just believe it’s important to talk about our sport, about tennis,” said Spaniard Rafa Nadal, who is tied for 20 major titles with Djokovic, to reporters at Melbourne Park, where the event will be played.

Germany’s world number three Alexander Zverev said Mr Djokovic had been treated unfairly and the Serb could have been used as a political pawn by Australian authorities, which Canberra denied.

“It’s obviously not a good thing for everyone, especially for him. But don’t question his legacy because of it,” Zverev said.

A Croatian tennis coach, who was among a handful of visitors with a medical exemption for the Australian Open, told the Australian newspaper he had to leave the country because Mr Djokovic had become a target Politics.

“Nobody can get politically stronger using my name, but Djokovic is such a high-profile player – that’s why all this is happening,” Filip Serdarusic, the brother and coach of world number 246 Nino Serdarusic, is quoted as saying. Zagreb. .

Djokovic’s medical exemption from vaccine requirements to play the Open has sparked widespread anger in Australia, which has endured some of the toughest lockdowns in the world and where more than 90% of adults are vaccinated, but the Hospitalization rates continue to reach record highs.

As scientists and global policymakers focus on vaccinating as many people as possible to end the pandemic, Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated has fueled the anti-vaccination movement, especially in his native Serbia. and surrounding countries.

The controversy has become a political touchstone for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he prepares for an election due in May.

His government has won support at home for its tough stance on border security during the pandemic, but it has been criticized for its handling of Mr Djokovic’s visa application.

Mr Djokovic, who is due to face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovi in ​​the first round of the Open, is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam title. He could still withdraw and leave Australia of his own accord rather than suffer the humiliation of being deported.

“The Australian Open is far more important than any player,” said Mr Nadal, whom Mr Djokovic considers his biggest rival.

“If he finally plays, OK. If he doesn’t play, the Australian Open will be great…with or without him.”

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