Novak Djokovic spends Orthodox Christmas in detention and thanks fans | Sunday Observer

Novak Djokovic spends Orthodox Christmas in detention and thanks fans

9 January, 2022
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic spent Orthodox Christmas in an Australian immigration hotel on Friday as he broke his silence for the first time since being detained after his entry visa was revoked, apparently for failing to meet the country’s strict vaccination requirements.

The tennis world number one took to Instagram to thank God and his fans for their support as his lawyers continued fighting to secure his release ahead of a court hearing on Monday.

“Thank you people from around the world for your continuous support,” he said. “I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”

Djokovic’s wife Jelena posted a photo on Instagram of the couple embracing on a beach to mark Orthodox Christmas, saying “the only law that we should all respect across every single border is love and respect for another human being”.

The Serbian player was sent to an immigration detention hotel on Wednesday after his visa was declared invalid despite a controversial medical exemption granted by local officials.

Djokovic has consistently refused to disclose his vaccination status but has publicly criticised mandatory jabs. The details of his medical exemption have not been released, but it has been widely condemned in a country where more than 90 per cent of the population is double vaccinated.

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister hit back at suggestions by his supporters, including his family, that he was being “held captive” on Friday.

“Mr Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia. He is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so and (Australian) Border Force will actually facilitate that,” said Karen Andrews.