Novak Djokovic is the victim of a “political witch hunt”, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic claimed on Thursday as fans in Belgrade rallied in support of the embattled tennis star after Australian authorities revoked his entry visa. Lawyers for the world number one player are appealing the 34-year-old’s decision, failing which he will be deported from Australia. Vaccine-skeptic Djokovic was detained upon arrival at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport for failing to “provide reasonable evidence” of double vaccination or medical exemption.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday after being granted a medical exemption by the organizers of the Australian Open.
He was hoping to defend his Australian Open crown and claim an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam title.
However, Vucic claimed that Djokovic was being chased after other tennis players were allowed to enter Australia with a medical exemption.
“What is not fair is the political witch hunt (being done against Novak), everyone, including the Australian prime minister, is pretending that the rules apply to everyone,” Vucic told the media.
Vucic said Serbian officials had contacted the Australian ambassador twice and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic would be in touch with a senior member of Australia’s Department of Home Affairs.
The Serbian will tell Australian officials that at least Djokovic can stay while his appeal is heard, at the house in Melbourne he rented for the Australian Open (which runs from January 17 to January 30), and not the hotel. In. has been sent to.
“I’m afraid this relentless political pursuit of Novak will continue until he can prove something, because when you can’t beat someone you turn to these kinds of things,” Vucic said.
In Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, Djokovic’s father Sarjan led a demonstration in front of the country’s parliament along with a few hundred others.
“We are not calling for violence… just for support”, Sarjan shouted into a megaphone for Novak, as the crowd waved Serbian flags and homemade signs, including a banner that read: “They fear the best, stop corona fascism”.
Elsewhere in the Serbian capital, reactions to the fiasco appeared more mixed.
“They don’t let people from other continents in their country get mud on their shoes who don’t have a vaccine for infectious disease,” 29-year-old flight attendant Mihailo Kaljacic told AFP.
“I don’t know what they expected to happen,” he said.
Others were shocked by the situation.
“It’s chaotic, crazy, disgusting,” said Branka Vuksanovic, a pensioner.
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