Serbian PM pledges support for Djokovic in Australia spat – POLITICO

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has pledged support for Novak Djokovic, saying her government will provide “all necessary guarantees” to ensure the tennis star is allowed to participate in the Australian Open.

Djokovic has been detained in an immigration detention center in Australia after a decision by the authorities to revoke his visa over concerns about the validity of his medical exemption from the Corona virus vaccination.

Speaking to Serbian media on Saturday, Brnabic said her government had had “positive” talks with its Australian counterparts and that Serbian head of state Aleksandar Vucic had been asked for help.

“The Serbian government is ready to provide all the necessary guarantees to allow Novak to enter Australia, and the Serbian president is involved,” she said.

Brnabic added that representatives of Serbia in Australia were able to provide the tennis star with exercise equipment, a laptop and a SIM card.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday.

Bernabish’s comments came ahead of a court order on Sunday, which rejected the Australian government’s request to postpone the hearing. Judge Anthony Kelly “impartially rejected” attempts to postpone the hearing to Wednesday.

Djokovic’s arrest in a Melbourne hotel, pending a final decision on his case, made headlines before the Australian Open begins on January 17. The 34-year-old Serbian champion is aiming for a record 21st Grand Slam title.

Djokovic, a skeptic about vaccination, had demanded an exemption from the country’s strict coronavirus rules, due to the recent infection with COVID-19, according to court documents filed on Saturday.

He also called on his legal team to move Djokovic to a “more suitable place of detention where he can train” before the tournament begins.

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