Orthodox Christmas in a refugee hotel in Melbourne. Thus the number 1 of world tennis Novak Djokovic, endowed with a fortune of 155 million dollars only from prizes in tournaments, spent the religious holiday, working on the legal battle against the expulsion from Australia pending the sentence expected starting from Monday 10 January. In recent days, the Australian authorities have refused his entry visa due to doubts about the reasons that exempted him from the anti-Covid vaccination.
The visit of the Orthodox priest
The champion has received calls from Serbia, including his parents and President Vucic, hoping to lift his spirits. A priest from Melbourne’s Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church has asked immigration authorities for permission to visit the nine-time Australian Open champion, a practicing Orthodox Christian, to celebrate the religious holiday. “Our Christmas is full of many customs and it is so important for a priest to visit it,” the dean of the church, Milorad Locard, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The whole thing around this event is frightening. That he should spend Christmas in detention … it’s unthinkable, ”he added.
Fans in front of the hotel
A group of Djokovic supporters gathered in front of the Park Hotel near Melbourne city center, which also hosts refugees and asylum seekers, waving flags and banners. They mingled with human rights defenders who were there to highlight the plight of other detainees. So instead of preparing to defend his Australian Open title and aim to win the 21st record men’s major title, Djokovic will begin his judicial battle at the Federal Circuit Court on Monday to challenge visa cancellation and expulsion from the territory. Australian.
The Australian government: free to leave the country
The affair is taking on the contours of a real diplomatic case between Australia and Serbia. Australian Interior Minister Karen Andrews specified that the Serbian champion “is not a prisoner. He is free to leave when he thinks fit and our border police will facilitate his exit ». The message is clear: no one forces him to stay here, it is his choice linked to the appeal he filed in court to overturn the decision of the Australian government and play the Australian Open. If he wins, we remember, Djokovic would become the first player in history to boast 21 Grand Slam titles, beating rivals Federer and Nadal.
The issue is beginning to arouse reactions even among Djokovic’s colleagues. Rafa Nadal sided in no uncertain terms with the penalty shooter: «The only clear thing for me – he said – is that if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open. After all the deaths of these two years, my feeling is that the vaccine is the only way to stop this pandemic ».