Djokovic case: Serbia protests to Australian ambassador in Belgrade

The Serbian Foreign Ministry on Thursday presented a formal protest to the Australian Ambassador to Serbia, Daniel Emery, for the “indecent treatment” that Novak Djokovic is receiving, world number one tennis player, in Melbourne.

According to a government statement, Serbia expects Emery to make a personal effort for Djokovic to obtain adequate accommodation for an athlete of his rank while awaiting a court decision on his visa, which the Australian authorities revoked last night.

The tennis player’s lawyers in Australia appealed the revocation of the visa, and an Australian court will consider the appeal on Monday. Djokovic was transferred to a hotel for asylum seekers in Melbourne, which the athlete’s family called “dirty”, in addition to denouncing that he was deprived of all his belongings while he awaits the decision.

The tennis player traveled to Melbourne for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season that takes place from January 17 to 30, after receiving a medical exemption from the cvid-19 vaccination from the organizers.

The Secretary of State in the Serbian Foreign Ministry, Nemanja Starovic, stated that Serbia does not want to influence in any way the decision of the Australian judicial authorities.

However, he expressed hope that the Australian government “in the spirit of good bilateral relations between Australia and Serbia, and in accordance with its competences, will allow Djokovic to spend (Orthodox) Christmas in better accommodation.”

Serbs, Orthodox Christians, celebrate Christmas on January 7, according to the old Julian calendar. Starovic stated that in the Serbian public opinion there is a strong impression that Djokovic is, out of his will, the victim of a political game and that he was lured to come to Australia and later be humiliated.

He denounced that he is treated as a criminal, terrorist or illegal immigrant by the Australian authorities and that this “makes his fans and citizens of Serbia bitter.”

Djokovic’s family, who came to compare the tennis player with Jesus Christ, assured today that he did not violate any laws or regulations in his attempt to enter Australia to play the tournament, and that the situation he is experiencing is “the biggest diplomatic sports scandal in the history”.

Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday in the center of Belgrade, in front of the Serbian Parliament building, to express their support for the tennis player, a well-known critic of coronavirus vaccines.