Serbia’s premier and Novak Djokovic’s family have denounced as “scandalous” Australia’s deportation of the tennis star for not being vaccinated against COVID-19. The Serbian president said Djokovic would always be welcome in his homeland.
A unanimous ruling by a three-judge bench rejecting Djokovic’s appeal against the cancellation of his visa dealt a final blow to his hopes of chasing a record 21st Grand Slam win at the Australian Open.
Djokovic’s family said in a statement that they were “very disappointed” with the decision by the Australian authorities, and that the court ruling was related with “politics and all (other) interests.”
Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also described the decision to deport Djokovic as “scandalous”.
The world’s top men’s tennis player was first detained by Australian immigration authorities on January 6, ordered released by a court on January 10 and then detained again on Saturday, after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers to cancel his visa.
The 34-year-old Djokovic flew out of Australia bound for Dubai on Sunday evening after saying in a brief statement that he was extremely disappointed by the court ruling and would respect it.