Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Novak Djokovic ‘would be treated differently if he wasn’t Serbian,’ Serbian President claims

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has blamed the Australian Government of treating Novak Djokovic poorly based on his nationality and accused them of “tormenting, even torturing him.”

World number one Djokovic has been deported back to his native Serbia after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke made the executive decision to overrule the court’s original ruling to reinstate his visa.

This decision was upheld unanimously by a three judge panel in court and looks to be the end of the saga. The Australian Government also confirmed that Djokovic is banned from Australia for three years.

As a result, Rafael Nadal is the only one of the ‘Big Three’ to be competing at the Australian Open after Swiss legend Roger Federer recovers from knee surgery and may be ruled out until Wimbledon.

This gives Nadal a golden opportunity to overtake Djokovic and Federer in the hunt to become the most successful male player of all time.

Throughout the deportation saga, Djokovic’s family have been outspoken and extremely vocal in their support for their son. Father Srdjan claimed the Australian Government “crucified Djokovic like Jesus,” whilst brother Djordje labelled the fiasco as the “greatest sporting scandal.”

Serbian President Vucic said “it [would have been] very easy for the Australian authorities to say from the very beginning that ‘okay, only vaccinated, only inoculated people could enter Australian territory,’ but they didn’t say so.

“They were saying a completely different story, including these medical exemptions. And after that, they forgot about it, and they wanted to create alleged political principles, which were not principles at all.

“They gave him an exemption. Why did it take them so long, why did they treat him like that, why create this kind of theatre?” Vucic questioned.

“And then for ten days they were tormenting – dare to say even torturing because it was not only intellectual, but physical torture – against Novak Djokovic.

“That was a witch hunt organised against Djokovic … that was totally unnecessary.”

“They think they humiliated Djokovic, the best player in the world, with this ten-day harassment, [but] they humiliated themselves.

“He can return to his country with his head held high and look everyone in the eye.

“He would have been treated differently if he hadn’t come from Serbia … If he was from another country, the approach would be completely different. Of course people here are frustrated, 90% are on Novak’s side.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.