Tennis: Novak Djokovic leaves Melbourne

After his defeat in a federal court, tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening.

The 34-year-old Serb took off at 10:52 p.m. (local time) on flight EK409 from Melbourne to Dubai. Shortly before 6 p.m., the three judges responsible had rejected the objection by the world number one to the renewed cancellation of his visa on Friday.

Djokovic will miss the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, where he is the record winner with nine wins. In a written statement, the defending champion had already stated that he was “extremely disappointed with the decision”. However, he had also emphasized that he would respect them and cooperate with the responsible authorities regarding his departure.

This was preceded by an ongoing dispute between Djokovic and the authorities since his arrival in Melbourne on January 5th. The 20-time Grand Slam winner was unvaccinated and entered the country with a medical exemption and wanted to crown himself as the sole major record winner with a triumph at the Australian Open from Monday.

Serbian President Vucic speaks of a “witch hunt” on Djokovic

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic reacted with incomprehension to the forthcoming expulsion of Novak Djokovic from Australia. He said that to the tennis star in a phone call. On Sunday, Vucic also spoke to the Serbian media again about a “witch hunt” that Djokovic had to endure in the past few days.

“I told Novak that I can’t wait for him to come back to Serbia, to his country where he is always welcome,” said Vucic. It is unacceptable “to treat the best tennis player like this for ten or eleven days and then to tell him the same decision on the eleventh day as on the first day.”

Vucic also accused Australian government lawyers of lying. “In the senseless court case you could see how much the prosecution is lying. They simply lied. They say that there are less than 50 percent vaccinated people in Serbia, but it’s officially 58 percent. That’s more than in many other European countries. It was a pointless argument,” Vucic said.

Australian athletes are always welcome in Serbia. “Thank you to the people of Australia. I’m sure they love Serbia,” said the politician: “They think they humiliated Djokovic, but they only humiliated themselves. He can go back to his country and raise everyone up look head in the eye.”


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