Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic addressed his fans for the first time since his arrival in Australia, thanking them for their support and wishing them a merry Christmas.
“Thanks to my family, Serbia and all good people across the world for their support. Thank dear God for my health. I feel the support and appreciate it very much,” Djokovic wrote in an Instagram post which included the traditional Serbian Orthodox Christian greeting Peace of God, Christ is Born. Djokovic fans have been gathering in front of his hotel in a show of support.
Djokovic was denied entry into Australia and was held at Melbourne airport for several hours before being taken to a hotel for immigrants pending a judge’s decision on Monday on his appeal. He was issued a visa to come to the Australian Open tournament which opens on January 17 under a medical exemption which was reviewed by Australian medical commissions. The case has drawn strong reactions in Serbia and in Australia.
Australian media reported that the medical documents submitted for review by more than 20 players were anonymous, adding that three other players were granted medical exemptions. Djokovic has not revealed whether he has or has not been vaccinated but has spoken out against mandatory vaccination. He also contracted and recovered from COVID-19 which was the basis for his exemption request.
Australian media reported on Friday that Czech player Renata Voracova has also had her visa revoked and has been taken to the same hotel as Djokovic. She also had a medical exemption.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews denied claims by Djokovic’s family that he was being held captive, saying that he is free to leave the country at any time.