Novak Djokovic's parents join protest in Serbia as Australian visa hearing looms

2 pm

Novak's parents joined a protest rally in downtown Belgrade with their son still in an Australian immigration detention hotel as fans of Novak in Serbia nervously await a crucial court hearing that could decide whether he can play at the Australian Open.

The public debate over his positive coronaviruses test that his lawyers used as grounds to apply for a medical exemption to Australia's strict vaccine rules has led to a virtual hearing in Melbourne.

The top-ranked Serb, who hopes to defend his title at the Australian Open and win a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title, was denied entry when he arrived at the airport on Wednesday and was awaiting a court hearing to challenge his deportation.

The hearing will take place on Monday. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia are involved.

The Australian Open starts a week from his court date.

The tennis star in his native Serbia received a lot of support for his case.

Today is a big day. The crowd in downtown Belgrade was told by Dijana Djokovic that the world would hear the truth today.

We hope that Novak will be free. We love Novak. She said that they believe in him, but also in the independent judiciary.

Srdjan Djokovic said, "This is happening because we are only a small part of the world, but we are proud people."

They can't break us. Novak is the epitome of freedom, everything human that one man has in himself. Shame on them!

The hotel in which Novak Djokovic is staying is not humane, according to Dijana.

She said that he didn't have breakfast. He can't see a park in front or go out of the room because he has a wall to stare at.

Australian officials initially said that a vaccine exemption would be granted to Novak Djokovic, who has refused to say if he has gotten the vaccine, so he could play in the Australian Open. His visa was canceled when he arrived.

The exemption request said that the first positive test for the player was on December 16th and that he had not had a respiratory or fever symptom in the past 72 hours.

Social media is flooded with questions about the whereabouts of Novak Djokovic after he was accused of positive for carbon dioxide.

On December 16 and 17 he attended two public events in Belgrade. The event was covered by local media, and parents posted photos on social media showing the children without masks. It's not clear if he knew the results of his test.

He was shown playing tennis in a park in front of his apartment.

"Legally, he doesn't have to explain what happened, but it would be very good for his reputation here and the world," said a Serbian sports journalist.