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Novak Djokovic supporters have held a candlelit vigil for the tennis star outside the government detention hotel where he is being held in Melbourne.
Australia dramatically revoked Djokovic’s visa to enter the country on Wednesday following a backlash over a vaccine exemption he claimed to have been granted in order to compete in the Australian Open.
The world number one, who is opposed to the receiving the coronavirus vaccine, was held at an airport for several hours before officials announced he had not met entry rules.
He was then taken to a refugee detention hotel in Melbourne ahead of an appeal hearing on Monday.
Fans in Australia have shown their support for the Serbian star by holding a candlelit vigil outside his hotel.
Dozens of supporters, many of whom were draped in Serbian flags, held signs and sang songs in support of Djokovic.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has also received support from his home country, with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic hitting out at Australian prime minister Scott Morrison.
“What is not fair play is the political witch hunt by everybody including the Australian prime minister pretending that the rules apply to all,” Vucic said.
“I fear that this relentless political pursuit of Novak will continue till the moment they can prove something, because when you cannot defeat somebody then you turn to these type of things.”
Djokovic reportedly claims to have been granted a vaccine exemption from two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia, the body which organises the Australian Open.
However, border officials have said the 34-year-old has "failed to provide appropriate evidence" for entry into Australia.
“This is for all the refugees as well. We hope they’re free all of them”- one Novak supporter said pic.twitter.com/4Uqfew9NuP— Najma Sambul (@najsambul) January 6, 2022
Djokovic's team have challenged the Australian Border Force’s decision, with a hearing reportedly scheduled for Monday at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal says he feels sorry for Djokovic but insists his rival is suffering the consequences of his own actions.
"I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem," Nadal said.
"He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.
"Of course I don't like the situation that is happening. In some way, I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision."
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