Novak Djokovic’s wife has thanked his fans for “using your voice to send love to my husband” while he remains in a quarantine hotel in Australia amid a row over a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption.
The world number one is awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the decision by the Australian Border Force (ABF) to cancel his entry visa and deport him.
“Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband,” Jelena Djokovic wrote on Instagram and Twitter.
In messages marking Christmas in Serbia, she wrote: “I am taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude (and understanding) in this moment for all that is happening.
“The only law that we should all respect across every single border is Love and respect for another human being.
“Love and forgiveness is never a mistake but a powerful force. Wishing you all well!”
Hours earlier, Djokovic’s father claimed his son has been made a scapegoat and “crucified”.
Srdjan Djokovic demonstrated outside the National Assembly buildings in Belgrade and told a press conference: “He met all the required conditions for the entry and participation at the tournament that he would have certainly won, since it’s Novak, the best tennis player and sportsman in the world.
“Jesus was crucified and endured many things, but is still alive among us. Novak is also crucified… He will endure.”
He added: “Novak and his team filed the same type of documents as those 25 other tennis players and they didn’t have any problems, just Novak. They wanted to humiliate him.
“He’s not in detention, he’s in prison. They took all of his stuff, even his wallet. They left him with just a phone and no change of clothes, nowhere to wash his face. He’s in prison, our pride is a prisoner of these idiots.”
Djokovic, who has previously spoken about his opposition to vaccination and has repeatedly refused to reveal his vaccine status, announced before setting off for the Australian Open he had received “exemption permission” to enter the country.
However, the ABF refused to let him in and said he had failed to provide appropriate evidence.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic has claimed Djokovic is the victim of “political persecution” and called for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move him from the “horrific hotel” where he is being held to a private house.
Djokovic’s rival, Rafael Nadal, said: “I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here.
“He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.”