Djokovic's father accuses Australian authorities of holding tennis star 'captive'

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Novak Djokovic is "being held captive" in a room guarded by police after arriving in Melbourne for the upcoming Australian Open, the tennis star's father has alleged.

World number one Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he had received a medical exemption to play in the tournament he has won a record nine times.

That medical exemption was expected to allow Djokovic to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status, which he has yet to formally disclose.

However, the Victorian government reportedly rejected an application from Border Force as a member of Djokovic's support team made an error in requesting a sub-class of visa.

Further doubt was cast over Djokovic's chances of being allowed to contest the first grand slam of the year when Jaala Pulford, the acting sports minister of the state of Victoria, later declared on social media that the Serbian's application will not be supported.

And amid later reports that the 20-time major winner could be forced to fly back home, Djokovic's father Srdjan hit out at authorities for their treatment of his son.

"Novak is currently in a room which no one can enter," he told the B92 internet portal. "In front of the room are two policemen."

Srdjan added to Russian news agency Sputnik: "I have no idea what's going on. My son has been held captive for five hours.

"This is a fight for the libertarian world, not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world.

"If they don't let him go in half an hour, we will gather on the street, this is a fight for everyone."

Men's grand slam winners - Djokovic, Federer, Nadal
Men's grand slam winners - Djokovic, Federer, Nadal

The latest twist in the Djokovic saga comes after Australian prime minister Scott Morrison stated that Djokovic "will be on the next plane home" if he fails to prove he merits medical exemption to play in the tournament.

Australian Open director Craig Tiley insisted on Tuesday that Djokovic had not been given a "special favour" to play in the tournament, which is scheduled to run from January 17 until January 30.

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