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Djokovic thanks fans for support as row over vaccine exemption continues

Djokovic thanks fans for support as row over vaccine exemption continues

Melbourne: Tennis star Novak Djokovic has broken his silence surrounding his denial of visa and subsequent detention in Australia, as he came out to thank his fans and well-wishers for supporting him through the issue. Dozens of demonstrators rallied outside the Park Hotel which is now an alternate detention center for refugees and those facing trouble under immigration laws.

"Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated," the world number one in men's tennis said in his Instagram post. Djokovic, an outspoken vaccine sceptic, was held after arriving in Australia this week to play in the Australian Open, where he was bidding to win an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam title.

The men's world number one's visa was revoked for failing to meet the country's tough pandemic restrictions, a development that has reverberated globally and sparked an angry reaction from Serbia.

Australian government officials have denied that Djokovic is being "held captive" as alleged by distraught members of his family during a press conference. While Djokovic has his support for his anti-vaccine views, the majority of Australians reacted negatively against his being allowed a vaccine exemption in the first place as Australian citizens and anyone coming from abroad faces strict vaccine and health checks

Djokovic's father Srdjan told a crowd in Belgrade his son was the victim of a "political witch hunt" and "corona fascism".

"Jesus was crucified and endured many things but is still alive among us," he said in a fiery speech. "Novak is also crucified... the best sportsman and man in the world."

Djokovic will attend court on Monday in order to plead his case against Australia's complex visa regulations after the federal government cancelled the visa granted by the state of Victoria. Critics of the Australian Prime Minister Tony Morrison have alleged that the entire cancellation issue and detention were manufactured for publicity in the upcoming elections, as Djokovic had received both visa and vaccine exemption before backlash.

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TAGS:Novak Djokovic Tennis Sports Controversy Covid-19 Vaccine 
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