Novak Djokovic breaks silence after release from Melbourne 'torture'

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Pictured left, Novak Djokovic and his team on Rod Laver Arena after he was freed from immigration detention.
Novak Djokovic had a hit at Rod Laver Arena after being freed from immigration detention on Monday evening. Pic: Twitter/Getty

Novak Djokovic has hit the courts at Melbourne Park after insisting he "wants to stay" in Australia and fight for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title, having been released from immigration detention.

Following a judge's decision to quash Djokovic's case, the 34-year-old headed straight to Rod Laver Arena after being afforded a late night practice session in preparation for what he hopes will be a 10th Australian Open title.

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While he was savouring his freedom, Djokovic's mother told a press conference in Belgrade that the World No.1 "was subjected to torture" while in detention and father said he was "denied his human rights".

Tweeting a photograph of himself and his team on the complex's main court Djokovic wrote on the social media site: "I'm pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation.

"Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen. I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.

"For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong."

The post was followed by several prayer emojis.

The Serb was granted late night access to Rod Laver Arena to loosen his limbs and reacquaint himself with his tennis rackets after spending nearly a week under guard at the Park Hotel, and the day at his lawyers' chambers listening to the court case.

After several hours of legal argument he heard Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly quash the decision to block his entry into Australia. The judge said Djokovic was given insufficient time to speak to Tennis Australia officials and to lawyers to respond to being told of the intent to cancel his visa.

However, he is still not certain of competing. A spokesman for Alex Hawke , the Immigration Minister, said he was considering using his broad discretionary powers he is given by Australia's Migration Act to again revoke Djokovic's visa.

Novak Djokovic's family slams treatment of Serb

Soon after Djokovic finished training at Melbourne Park his family gave a press conference in Serbia during which his mother, according to the BBC translator, said her son, "was subjected to torture, to harassment. We will hear even more about what he has gone through".

Dijana Djokovic also said: "This is his biggest win in his career, it is bigger than any grand slams."

In a furious rant in front of reporters in Serbia, Djokovic's father Srdan referred to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as a "dictator" and even called on the Queen to step in over the treatment of his son.

“Autocracy has shown its true face today. Contrary to the decision of the independent court of Australia, dictator Scott (Morrison) ordered the arrest of my son, your world champion, Novak Djokovic, and deportation, banning him from entering the country for three long years,” Srđan Đoković said.

“The court showed that law exists in Australia, but Scott dared to take justice into his own hands.

“I call on the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth, the leader of the Commonwealth, to intervene and protect the human rights of my son Novak Djokovic and to stop the political prosecution that has been carried out against him since he came to Australia.

“I call on all Australians and the whole world to raise their voice against terror, and the brutal human rights violations of the world’s best tennis player.

Pictured here, Novak Djokovic's parents speak out against his treatment at a press conference in Serbia.
Novak Djokovic's parents have slammed Australia's treatment of their son. Pic: Getty

“Australia has become a dystopia, a mockery of the free world, they treat Novak Djokovic, my son, your world champion, as a political prisoner. As a terrorist in Guantanamo Bay. They deprive him of the right to play, to individuality, to freedom of opinion,” he said. “But I publicly claim: Political beasts will not break it! The whole world can now see a fake democracy led by one Scott.

“Novak is treated by the Australian government as an enemy of the state, not the best tennis player in the world who has always helped Australia with his donations in philanthropy.

"He is treated by ethnic racists as a lower-class citizen. The truth has come to light, Australia is run by political criminals who do not respect individual rights or court decisions. They do not respect the decisions of their court, they do not respect their legal system.

“As of today, Australia is a banana republic and my son took the cross to go down in history as Spartacus standing on the last line of defence of freedom.

“I call on all non-governmental organisations around the world and all people of good will who believe in justice and democracy, as well as the Queen of Great Britain, to get involved and protect Novak Djokovic from the torture against him.

Brother Djordje Djokovic said: "He went to Australia to play tennis, to try and win the Open and win the record he has been chasing for so many years."

He added: "We love Australia, Novak loves Australia, he's won it so many times, we will keep on coming back".

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli told the BBC she thought Djokovic would be physically ready to compete at the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January, but he may be mentally drained after the events of the past few days.

"I think he can work his way through the first week and build his momentum towards the second week, it's more how mentally and psychologically he will be affected by all of this," she said.

"He is really his best when he is under pressure and in tougher circumstances, but it is more about how the crowd are going to react.

"If he has the whole stadium against him booing or whatever. How much is that going to affect him? It's really hard to tell in advance."

with AAP

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