Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has reacted in characteristically forthright fashion; after the Australian Open champion was barred from defending his title in a deportation ruling over his Covid vaccination status.
Tennis icon Djokovic’s devoted dad has been one of his most passionate supporters during the saga that has now seen him ousted from Australia, where he had hoped to win an appeal against his visa being canceled ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2022.
The 61-year-old likened the world number one to Jesus Christ because he said he was facing crucifixion; when he was initially held by border officials after entering Australia.
Djokovic senior watched in horror and appeared at rallies in Serbia as his son was detained in a hotel; freed by a judge and then scuppered by Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke’s second attempt to cancel his visa.
“The attempt to assassinate the best athlete in the world has ended,” Srdjan is said to have thundered on Instagram, via Blic. “Fifty bullets in Novak’s chest… that’s [Djokovic], man… see you in Paris.”
The man who decided Djokovic’s first name was referring to the French Open; which will take place in May and June 2022.
While some have blamed Australian Open bosses for the confusion which led Djokovic to believe he would be able to compete in Melbourne despite being unvaccinated against Covid; French leaders have already made it clear that the world number one will be welcome at their tournament.
French president Emmanuel Macron has said he is desperate for people to take vaccine shots amid a surge in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant; but the country’s sports minister, Roxane Maracineanu, is content for Djokovic to appear without being jabbed.
“He would not follow the same organizational arrangements as those who are vaccinated,” Maracineanu told FranceInfo radio after Djokovic’s visa was initially canceled by Scott Morrison’s government.
“But he will nonetheless be able to compete because the protocols, the health bubble, allows it.”
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Djokovic’s father is likely to be in Paris when the 34-year-old; could have the opportunity to make history by winning a 21st Grand Slam title.
Unless familiar rival Rafael Nadal adds to his solitary Australian Open title during the Melbourne showpiece between January 17-30 2022; Djokovic will be targeting a triumph which would move him one major ahead of the Spaniard and fellow great Roger Federer.
The Serbian hero is expected to leave Australia imminently; after a court upheld Hawke’s decision to remove him from the country, deeming Djokovic a risk to the public.