World number one Novak Djokovic (34) was upheld in his appeal to stay in Australia. Then came reports that the tennis star was under arrest. Now, after a dramatic day, he is preparing for the Australian Open. And it is still uncertain whether he will actually be allowed to stay in Australia.
At 14.00, the Djokovic family met the press in Novak Djokovic’s restaurant back home in Serbia.
At a table, for the occasion adorned with a bust of the world senenser, a pile of trophies and several pictures, the family sits in front of a large press corps. The tennis star’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, says according to the BBC that the occasion for the press conference is to “celebrate” his son’s victory in court.
“Justice has won,” he said in Serbian, according to the BBC.
– This is the biggest victory of his career. It is bigger than a Grand Slam, says Novak Djokovic’s mother, Dijana Djokovic, who also, according to the BBC, calls the treatment of her son “torture”.
At the press conference, dad Djokovic confirmed that his son is now preparing for the Australian Open, which starts in a week. The protagonist confirms the same on his official Twitter account.
– I am happy and grateful that the judge has rescinded my visa. Despite everything that has happened, I want to stay and compete in the Australian Open, Djokovic writes on Twitter.
– I’m still focused on that. I flew here to play in one of the most important tournaments we have and to play in front of incredible fans. Many thanks to everyone who has stood behind me through all this and encouraged me to be strong, he writes.
The world number one is thus – apparently – starting training for the prestigious tournament he has won nine times before. So far, however, it has been anything but optimal charging for the 34-year-old Grand Slam tournament.
When he arrived in Melbourne a few days ago in connection with the Australian Open tournament, he was denied entry to the country as he did not meet the entry requirements. He then spent four nights in a quarantine hotel awaiting a court hearing that would decide the way forward.
Early Monday morning Norwegian time, it became known that he won in court, and that he was allowed to stay in Australia. Thus, he got his personal belongings and passport back, and was finally allowed to leave the quarantine hotel he was staying at.
The case has created a great deal of involvement in Australia, and on Monday the streets were full of Djokovic supporters. Among other things, this has led to clinics with the police, who have used pepper spray on the protesters.
Also in the days leading up to the ruling, there have been several rallies of support for Djokovic outside the hotel he has been staying in. There have been demonstrations against Djokovic’s deprivation of liberty, which the Serbian president has also called “harassing”.
At home in Belgrade, there have also been loud protests against the treatment of the Serb.
However, the drama was far from over, despite the court ruling: State Attorney Chris Tran announced after the verdict that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke would consider using his personal authority to cancel Djokovic’s visa. While waiting for the news of Hawke’s use of this authority, the Djokovic family claimed that the tennis star had been arrested by Australian authorities, allegations made by Australian media.
It has since become known that Hawke decided not to use the authority to cancel Djokovic’s visa for the time being. However, a spokesman for the Minister of Immigration has announced that it may be relevant to use this Tuesday. “A process is ongoing,” it said in a statement from the minister’s spokesman.
– It has been difficult for us, as a family. It’s been emotional. It is difficult to defend Novak and not offend anyone at the same time, says Novak’s brother Djordje at the press conference.
Right now, Djokovic is a free man to count on, and thus he can start preparing for the Australian Open tournament which starts on 17 January. If the Serb wins there, he will be the most winning tennis player of all time.
Djokovic is already the reigning champion of the Australian Open, a Grand Slam tournament he has won nine times. His first Australian Open title came in 2008.
Much of the uproar surrounding Djokovic and Australia is due to the fact that he has not been vaccinated. He was infected with the coronavirus in December.
The Serb has received a lot of criticism after the day after testing positive for corona, he showed up and handed out prizes to a group of children and young people. Without face mask. He is then said to have posed for a photo shoot with L’Équipe on December 18, two days after a corona infection was detected.
On December 16, Djokovic tested positive – the next day this picture was published
Djokovic had previously been exempted from being vaccinated to participate in the tournament. His lawyers presented evidence of the infection and the medical exemption during the hearing. In the end, the court ruled that the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa was “unreasonable”. Tennis star Rafael Nadal, who for many years has been one of Djokovic’s top rivals, calls it all “a circus”.
“Regardless of whether Djokovic and I agree or disagree on something, justice has spoken, and said that he has the right to participate in the Australian Open, and I think that is fair now,” the Spaniard told radio channel Onda Cero.
1 of 4Photo: Mark Baker / AP