Serbia’s president and prime minister spoke out against Australia’s decision to deport the world’s number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, after his visa was canceled due to his decision to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic lost his second appeal to remain in Australia Sunday, and, according to Australian news outlet The Age, he is being deported due to the risk that his "vaccine skepticism posed a risk to public health and good order of Australian society," thereby depriving Djokovic any chance of winning the Australian Open and a 21st grand slam.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement that "[T]his cancellation decision was made on health, safety and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so. I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe."
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić called the court decision "scandalous."
"I find it unbelievable that we have two completely contradictory court decisions within the span of just a few days. I am disappointed … I think it demonstrated how the rule of law is functioning – or better to say not functioning – in some other countries. In any case, I can hardly wait to see Novak Djokovic in our own country, in Serbia," he said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić called the court ruling "a farce" and said that he told Djokovic to "return to his country, come home to Serbia, to where he will always be welcome."
Vučić continued that even though Australian authorities may "think they humiliated Djokovic, the best player in the world, with this 10-day harassment, [but] they humiliated themselves. He can return to his country with his head held high and look everyone in the eye."
"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?" Vučić asked, adding that they should have just said that unvaccinated players cannot enter the country, rather than giving Djokovic an exemption and then acting the way they did.
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