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Novak Djokovic’s wife thanks fans for ‘sending love to my husband’ in Australia

Meanwhile, the tennis star’s former coach says he is making a ‘big mistake’ if he does not get vaccinated.

Novak Djokovic (file pic).
Novak Djokovic (file pic).
Image: PA

Updated Jan 7th 2022, 8:55 AM

NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S WIFE Jelena has expressed her gratitude to the player’s fans for “using your voice to send love to my husband” as he remains held in Australia in a row with authorities over a coronavirus medical exemption.

The Serbian is in a quarantine hotel awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the decision by the Australian Border Force (ABF) to cancel the reigning Australian Open champion’s entry visa and deport him.

In Instagram and Twitter posts marking Christmas in Serbia, Jelena Djokovic wrote: “Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband.

“I am 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. Wishing you all well!”

There was a small crowd outside the Park Hotel on Friday in Melbourne, where someone who gave her name only as Tatjana told the PA news agency the tennis player “doesn’t deserve to be in this refugee camp”.

“I’m here to support Novak, to set him free, because I think he doesn’t deserve what the Australian government has done to him and it’s not true when they said in the media that they treat everyone equally,” Tatjana said.

“I think Novak doesn’t deserve to be in this refugee camp and I don’t think you’ll see any other tennis player in this refugee camp.”

After Rafael Nadal shared his opinion yesterday, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios weighed in on Twitter to call for his country to “do better” in its treatment of Djokovic.

The world number 93 wrote: “Look I definitely believe in taking action, I got vaccinated because of others and for my mums health, but how we are handling Novak’s situation is bad, really bad.

“Like these memes, headlines, this is one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he is human. Do better.”

Hours earlier, Djokovic’s father claimed the world number one has been made a scapegoat and “crucified” in the row.

In Belgrade, Srdjan Djokovic demonstrated outside the National Assembly buildings and addressed a media conference to highlight what he perceived to be an injustice Down Under.

“He met all the required conditions for the entry and participation at the tournament that he would have certainly won, since it’s Novak, the best tennis player and sportsman in the world,” Srdjan Djokovic told a press conference on Thursday.

“Jesus was crucified and endured many things, but is still alive among us. Novak is also crucified… He will endure.”

Srdjan Djokovic had also said that his son was being singled out unfairly.

“Novak and his team filed the same documents as 25 other tennis players (who received exemptions) and they didn’t have any problems, just Novak,” Djokovic senior said in an interview broadcast by Sky News.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews confirmed all other players with exemptions would be looked at closely.

“As people come into Australia, they need to have met our entry requirements as well as having a visa,” she told Channel 9 news.

“They stand the risk if they come in and don’t have the proper documentation, that they will be stopped at the border and will go through exactly the same process which is being played out now.

“He (Djokovic) hasn’t met the entry requirements – there is a lot of chatter about the visa, but that in my understanding is not the issue, it is the entry requirements… that he was not able to produce the evidence which was needed for entry into Australia.”

Djokovic has spoken in the past about his opposition to vaccination, and posted on social media before setting off for the Australian Open to say he had received “exemption permission” to enter the country.

The tennis star is “big mistake” if he is not getting vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the world number one’s former coach Boris Becker.

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Becker – himself a former world number one and twice Australian Open champion as well as winning three Wimbledon singles titles – enjoyed a successful three-year partnership with Djokovic which included six Grand Slam victories.

The 54-year-old maintains a close relationship with the Serbian, but feels their views on how to best protect against coronavirus are very different.

“On this occasion I think he is making a big mistake in not getting vaccinated. It is one that threatens what remains of his career and his chance to cement himself as the greatest player of all time,” Becker said in a column for the Daily Mail.

“Four times I sat in his box as he won the Australian Open, so I am fully aware of his great strengths as an incredible competitor. I also think he has a great character that can easily be misunderstood.

“Yet these strengths can also be weaknesses. The same incredible determination which I saw win so many close matches can be a vulnerability with his stubbornness.”

Becker feels if Djokovic does maintain his vaccine hesitancy, it could present more hurdles to his playing career.

“He is incredibly strong-willed, with very firm beliefs. If he does not, then in 10 years he will look back on it and realise he made a mistake,” Becker said.

“It is not just about Australia. The fact is that we are living in a different world and he is going to find it very hard to live the life of a professional tennis player travelling around without the vaccination.

“Those are the rules, whether one likes them or not, and you have to accept it. Maybe one day we will get back to a more normal situation, but at 34 he does not have much time left to pursue his goals.

“As someone fond of him, I know he will be suffering. He will be shocked at the treatment he is getting, in a bleak room with his meals shoved under the door.

“It will be all the more disconcerting because he loves playing in Australia and perhaps no stadium more than the Rod Laver Arena.” 


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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