Novak Djokovic's family defends tennis superstar amid Australia ordeal: 'They are keeping him like a prisoner'

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Novak Djokovic’s family defended the tennis superstar as he fights the Australian government in order to play at the Australian Open later this month.

Djokovic was being held at a Melbourne hotel as his case to play in the Australian Open hangs in the balance. His case was adjourned until Monday. Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, lashed out against the Australian government in a news conference on Thursday.

A billboard depicting Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic hangs on a building in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File)

“This has nothing to do with sports, this is a political agenda. Novak is the best player and the best athlete in the world, but several hundred million people from the West can’t stomach that.”

Federal Circuit Judge Anthony Kelly adjourned Djokovic’s case to Monday. A lawyer for the government agreed the nine-time Australian Open champion and winner of 20 major titles should not be deported before then.

Djokovic is hoping an Australian court will rule in his favor after he was granted a medical exemption to get around the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all players participating in the Australian Open, but his visa to enter the country was revoked. He now faces deportation and other legal hurdles.

Morrison said Thursday that Djokovic’s visa had been canceled.

The Australian Border Forces also released a statement stating that Djokovic did not provide the “appropriate evidence” to meet the government’s entry requirements, resulting in his visa being canceled.

“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa canceled will be detained and removed from Australia,” the statement read, via The Age.

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, reacts while playing Kei Nishikori, of Japan, during the quarterfinals of the tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Djokovic had not disclosed whether he’s vaccinated against the coronavirus, which is at the heart of the issue. He had landed in the country thinking he had Victoria state approval that would shield him from regulations requiring all players, fans and staff to have received the COVID-19 vaccination to be at the Australian Open. Apparently, that would’ve been OK to enter the tournament, but not the country.

The Australian Open begins on Jan. 17.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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