The president of the Serbian Parliament, Ivica Dacic, on Friday accused the Australian authorities of exercising a “disgusting and shameful political mistreatment” against the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, number one in the world tennis.
It is “disgusting political mistreatment and outrage, against a person that every country in the world would gladly accept as its citizen, and not just to come to a competition,” Dacic said in Belgrade, reports regional television N1.
The Serbian Parliament speaker argued that Djokovic “did not invite himself but received a so-called exemption approval” for not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
According to Dacic, the Australian authorities behave in a “shameful” way and in that country “an abuse for political purposes is going on.”
He added that even if the rejection was justified, as the Australian government claims, “there is another way to do it, with a humane attitude, with culture, towards the best tennis player.”
The Serbian government protested the treatment of Djokovic to the Australian ambassador in Belgrade yesterday, but Dacic believes the government can do little to help its most famous athlete now.
“It is difficult to be able to do something from the aspect of the state, as we don’t have special relations with them [Australia],” the parliament speaker said.
The decision of the Australian authorities to deport Djokovic and thus not allow him to defend his Australian Open title has been harshly criticized in Serbia.
The Djokovic family called Serbian citizens to a new protest in front of the Serbian Parliament to manifest against the treatment Novak Djokovic is receiving in Australia.
“The biggest Christian holiday (Orthodox Christmas) is an occasion for the importance of the community to be felt even more and to send from Belgrade to the world an image of the enormous support that the best tennis player in the world has in his country,” the Djokovic family said in a statement.
The tennis player is waiting in a hotel for asylum seekers in Melbourne for a response to his appeal against the rejection of his visa and medical exemption.
The Serbian press has reacted with fury, to the point that one newspaper, the Telegraf, headlined “This, we will never forget” on its front page and in reference to the “shameful statement” of Rafael Nadal, who had said that Djokovic, if he had wanted to, could have been vaccinated and played without problems in Australia.
The words of the State Secretary at the Serbian Foreign Ministry
The Secretary of State at the Serbian Foreign Ministry, Nemanja Starovic stated that in the public opinion in Serbia there is a strong impression that Djokovic is, out of his own free will, the victim of a political game and that he was lured to come to Australia only to be humiliated.
He denounced that he is treated as a criminal, terrorist or illegal immigrant by the Australian authorities and that this “embitters his fans and citizens of Serbia.”