'I feel it': Novak Djokovic breaks silence over visa debacle

Novak Djokovic (pictured left) during a tennis match and (pictured right) supporters rally outside Park Hotel.
Novak Djokovic (pictured left) thanks fans for their support as supporters rally outside Park Hotel (pictured right) where he thought to be detained. (Getty Images)

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has broken his silence and thanked his fans for the support after having his visa revoked in Australia ahead of the first grand slam of 2022.

The 34-year-old was granted a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements to compete in the year's first major, but after a public outcry in Australia was detained by officials at the border on Thursday.

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Djokovic is now in a quarantine hotel in Melbourne after his lawyers secured an agreement for him to stay in the country for a court hearing on Monday in which he hopes to overturn the federal government ban on his entry.

His wife, Jelena, recently sent a message of support for her husband and Djokovic has received enormous support from back home with his father very vocal about his treatment in Australia.

Now, the 20-time grand slam champion has broken his silence from his hotel in Carlton and has thanked those supporting him during his battle to remain in Australia.

"Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated," Djokovic posted.

Some supporters were still maintaining their vigil outside the government detention hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton for Djokovic.

The World No.1 has received calls at his hotel from back home in Serbia from his parents, as well as the country's president, as they've attempted to provide him with some holiday cheer.

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A priest from the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne asked to visit Djokovic on Friday on what is Orthodox Christmas Day in Serbia but was not allowed because of the lockdown at the hotel.

"Our Christmas is rich in many customs, and it is so important that a priest visits him," the church's dean, Milorad Locard, told the ABC.

"The whole thing around this event is appalling. That he has to spend Christmas in detention ... it is unthinkable."

Earlier, Jelena Djokovic took to social media to firstly acknowledge Christmas in Serbia, but also thank fans for their support and to call for 'love and respect'.

“It’s Christmas today for us, my wishes are for everyone to be healthy, happy, safe and together with families,” she wrote.

Jelena Djokovic (pictured left) poses with World No.1 Novak Djokovic (pictured right).
Jelena Djokovic (pictured left), the wife of tennis World No.1 Novak Djokovic (pictured right), has defended her husband amid his Australian Open immigration scandal. (Image: Instagram)

“We wish we are all together today, but my consolation is that at least we are healthy. And we will grow from this experience.

“Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband.

“I am taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude (and understanding) in this moment for all that is happening.

“The only law that we should all respect across every single border is love and respect for another human being. Love and forgiveness is never a mistake but a powerful force."

Djokovic's father Srdjan told crowds in Serbia the Australian authorities wanted to humiliate his "captive" son.

However, Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews dismissed any claim Djokovic was 'captive' and said he was free to leave any time he chooses.

with AAP

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