As Novak Djokovic continues to wait in a Melbourne hotel to see whether he will be deported or can remain in Australia, he and his wife have thanked his supporters for sticking by him.
On his Instagram story, Djokovic thanked people around the world “for your continuous support,” noting that he “can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”
Novak Djokovic’s first public comments since landing in Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/npEVpWHqxw
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) January 7, 2022
His wife, Jelena Djokovic, also thanked the tennis star’s fans on Twitter. She said she was “taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude (and understanding) in this moment for all that is happening.”
The only law that we should all respect across every single border is Love and respect for another human being. Love and forgiveness is never a mistake but a powerful force.?♥️?
— Jelena Djokovic (@jelenadjokovic) January 7, 2022
“The only law that we should all respect across every single border is Love and respect for another human being. Love and forgiveness is never a mistake but a powerful force,” Jelena Djokovic wrote on Twitter.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday, a day after he had been granted a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open despite stringent COVID-19 restrictions in the nation. After an uproar in the nation, Djokovic was halted upon entry and his visa was canceled after the Australian Border Force noticed an error in his medical exemption application. He will remain in the Park Hotel, which houses immigration detainees, until Monday, when an appeal over his visa denial will be held.
Australia requires anyone entering the country to be vaccinated, and as such, participants in the Australian Open were also required to be vaccinated. Medical exemptions require acute conditions to avoid the need to quarantine if entering the country. Djokovic’s medical exemption had been approved by two medical panels organized by Tennis Australia and from the Victoria state government, but the ABF said he lacked evidence to support his need for an exemption.
Djokovic has spoken out against vaccinations in general, though he has not publicly stated whether he has received the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the BBC, Djokovic said back in April 2020 that he was “opposed to vaccination” before later noting that he is not an expert and would have an “open mind.” He also said that he would not be forced to be vaccinated to travel or compete.
Djokovic is not the only player who has run into issues entering the country for the Australian Open, as the Associated Press reported two other people connected to the tournament also were under investigation for visa issues. One of them is Renata Voracova, a doubles player from the Czech Republic. The country’s embassy in Australia announced she has decided to drop out of the tournament and head home after being detained at the same hotel as Djokovic.