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Serbian president slams ‘maltreatment’ of Djokovic at Australian airport

Earlier, Djokovic’ father told reporters that his son was detained in Australia as he arrived to play in the Australian Open

BELGRADE, January 6. /TASS/. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has described as "maltreatment" the detention and hours-long questioning of tennis star Novak Djokovic at Australia’s Melbourne Airport because of a mistake in his visa form.

Vucic said on his Instagram page that he spoke with Djokovic over the phone and told him that "the whole Serbia is with him and that our authorities are undertaking all measures in order that maltreatment of the world's best tennis player ends as soon as possible". "In line with all standards of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, justice and truth," Vucic wrote.

Earlier, Djokovic’ father told reporters that his son was detained in Australia as he arrived to play in the Australian Open. The tennis player was questioned by border guards at the airport for nearly eight hours over a mistake in his visa application. Earlier, Djokovic received a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination, but the authorities of Australia’s state of Victoria did not accept his documents. Serbian media reports said the Australian authorities did not have questions to other athletes with similar medical exemptions.

The tennis player was isolated in the airport’s room and was not allowed to use his mobile phone.

Djokovic, 34, won 20 Grand Slam titles, nine Australian Open titles, including in 2021, six Wimbledon titles, three US Open titles and two French Open titles. He secured a total of 86 victories at tournaments as part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Djokovic is a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Earlier reports said the Serbian tennis player could miss the Grand Slam tournament, the first one this season, over his refusal to undergo vaccination.

The Australian Open tournament is due in Melbourne on January 17-30.