Serbian prime minsiter pledges support for Djokovic in Australia spat

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Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has pledged support for Novak Djokovic, saying that her government will provide “all necessary guarantees” to ensure that the tennis star is cleared to participate in the Australian Open.

Djokovic has been held in immigration detention in Australia following a decision from the authorities to annul his visa because of concerns over the validity of his medical exemption from coronavirus vaccination.

Speaking to Serbian media on Saturday, Brnabić said her government had been in “positive” talks with Australian counterparts and that Serbian head of state Aleksandar Vučić had also been roped in to help.

“The Serbian government is ready to provide all the guarantees necessary for Novak to be allowed to enter Australia, the Serbian president is also involved,” she said.

Brnabić added that Serbian representatives in Australia have managed to supply the tennis star with exercise equipment, a laptop and a SIM card.

A hearing on the case is due to take place on Monday.

Brnabić’s comments came ahead of a court order on Sunday, which rejected the Australian government’s request to delay the hearing. Judge Anthony Kelly “refused without prejudice” attempts to postpone the hearing until Wednesday.

Djokovic’s internment in a Melbourne hotel, pending a final decision of his case, has hit the headlines ahead of the start of the Australian Open on January 17. The 34-year-old Serbian hero is aiming for a record 21st Grand Slam title.

Vaccination skeptic Djokovic had pleaded exemption from the country’s strict coronavirus rules, due to a recent COVID-19 infection, according to court documents filed on Saturday.

His legal team has also called for Djokovic to be moved to a more “suitable place of detention that would enable him to train” ahead of the start of the tournament.

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