Novak Djokovic: Deliveries of gluten-free food, exercise equipment and SIM card to contact the family – the conditions of detention of the tennis star for migrants | World news


Novak Djokovic had access to deliveries of gluten-free meals and exercise equipment while in migrant detention, according to the Serbian prime minister’s office.

Serbian officials “are doing everything to make the situation easier for Djokovic,” according to a statement.

the world number one in tennis will remain at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, which also serves as a detention center for immigrants, until a final decision on his visa is made, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

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Could Djokovic lose the Australian Open before he starts?

The Australian, a newspaper, had previously reported that the tennis star was denied any “special treatment”.

Djokovic’s requests for access to his personal chef and a tennis court have been rejected by Australian authorities, according to reports.

The tennis player had also requested other accommodation in order to be able to train for the tournament which will start on January 17.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said: “We managed to arrange for him to have gluten-free food delivered, to get exercise equipment, he was given a laptop, a map SIM so he can be in touch with his family. “

She said she hoped it would improve her stay, adding that the country’s president was in contact with him.

Since Djokovic’s visa was canceled on Thursday, the 34-year-old has been staying at the same hotel, a few miles from the luxury hotels where most of the Australian Open players stay.

He is currently involved in a row to find out if he is exempt from the country’s COVID vaccination rules and risks deportation if his appeal is unsuccessful.

Why is Djokovic being refused entry to Australia – and what are their travel rules?

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Novak’s mother: “It’s a very difficult time”

Lawyers representing the Serbs plan to argue their case in court on Monday.

They say he tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16 and had a valid visa and medical exemption from the organizer of the Australian Open.

Djokovic, who has expressed his skepticism about coronavirus vaccines in the past, wrote on Instagram yesterday: “Thank you people around the world for your continued support. I can feel it and it’s greatly appreciated.”

The fury meant the Serbian tennis star was unable to celebrate Orthodox Christmas on Friday – an important religious holiday.

A priest at the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne had attempted to visit Djokovic, but was refused by immigration officials because the hotel is closed.

Fans of the nine-time Australian Open champion have gathered outside the Park Hotel, waving banners as he remains locked inside.

“Maggots and mold in our bread”

About 30 asylum seekers are housed one floor above Djokovic in the Park Hotel – and some of them have been held there for two years.

They were transferred to Melbourne after being evacuated for medical treatment from Australia’s controversial detention centers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Even before Djokovic’s arrival, the hotel had made headlines amid allegations that maggots and mold were in bread given to detainees.

Hossein Latifi told Reuters news agency: “We are stuck in our room. There is no fresh air. We have no place to train. There is no gym here. . It’s very hard.”

The 32-year-old from Iran added: “We are refugees, we are innocent – we have not committed any crime. They are just keeping me hostage here.”

The third and fourth floors of the Park Hotel were damaged by fire on December 23 – and during an evacuation, some asylum seekers ended up becoming infected with COVID because they were being held with the quarantine of passengers who tested positive.

A billboard depicting Djokovic in Belgrade.  Photo: AP
Even some of those who have criticized the star in the past for his remarks on vaccines have spoken out against the way he is being treated. Photo: AP

“Difficult weeks” to come

The daily number of coronavirus infections in Australia is repeatedly breaking records as the Omicron variant spreads.

An unprecedented 45,098 new infections were reported in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state on Saturday, up from 38,625 the day before.

The outbreak prompted New South Wales to reintroduce some restrictions, with dancing and singing in pubs and nightclubs now banned.

State health officials believe cases might not peak until the end of January, warning: “We have a tough week ahead of us. But we have planned this pandemic and have continued to reinvent ourselves for two years now. “

Djokovic's message to supporters on Instagram
Djokovic’s message to supporters on Instagram

Tennis rivals slam Djokovic’s treatment

Even some of those who have criticized the star in the past for his remarks on vaccines have spoken out against the way he is being treated.

Nick Kyrgios – an Australian player who called Djokovic a ‘tool’ after calling for the relaxation of quarantine rules last year – tweeted: ‘Look, I really believe in action, I got the shot at because of others and for my mother’s health, but how we deal with Novak’s situation is bad, really bad.

“He’s one of our great champions but at the end of the day he’s human. To do better.”

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