C: US Dept of State / Public Domain

Serbian President says Australia ‘humiliated’ by Novak Djokovic ‘witch hunt’ 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has sharply criticized the Australian authorities for its “mistreatment” of Novak Djokovic , saying they “humiliated themselves” in persisting with a push to deport the tennis champion.

Djokovic was controversially deported on the eve of the Australian Open – a title he currently holds – after a ten day dispute which saw the Australian authorities dispute his right to a medical exemption from a Covid-19 vaccine because he has recently recovered from the virus.

“They think that they have by this, this mistreatment of ten days humiliated Djokovic, but they have humiliated themselves. Djokovic can return to his country with his head held high,” Vucic told Serbian news reporters.

The Serbian president previously slammed the detention of the tennis star, describing it as a “political witch hunt”.
“I spoke earlier to Novak Djokovic after the decision and I encouraged him. We look forward to seeing him return to his country, where he is always welcome,” Vucic added.

Djokovic has been cleared to play in the Australian Open, then had his visa canceled and was detained in a hotel by the authorities. A judge overturned the Home Affairs decision on the visa cancellation saying the tennis star couldn’t have done any more on the issue, but the government persevered in attempts to deport Djokovic with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke saying the champion was “a threat to public order” because his presence would encourage anti-vaccination sentiment.

The Australian Lawyers’ Alliance slammed the decision saying: “One of the most dangerous aspects of the matter is the preparedness of the federal government to deem someone a risk to public order simply on the basis of what it perceives that person’s views might be.”

Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky called the events “a very sad day in the history of tennis”.

“A very sad day in history of tennis. It’s sad when politics beat common sense…The law is one for all, but interpretations are different for all. Shameful to target one because of his believes, which are different from others,” he posted on Twitter.

 

While some criticized Djokovic for his stance on the Covid-19 vaccine, others pointed to the experience of tennis ace, Jeremy Chardy, who says he suffered serious problems after taking the jab.

“Since I had my vaccine (between the Olympics and the US Open), I have had a problem, I’ve had a series of struggles. Suddenly, I cannot train, I cannot play,” the French tennis pro previously said.

 

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