Tennis star Novak Djokovic is speaking with his lawyers to sue the Australian government for millions of dollars after being detained for several days while waiting for the country’s immigration authorities to grant him a visa to enter, which was ultimately denied.
The Djokovic scandal in Australia does not come to an end. The tennis player spent most of his week isolated in an immigrant hotel in Australia. Now, sources close to the tennis player anticipate that he will initiate legal action against the country’s government, claiming to have been mistreated by the authorities, reported Fox News.
The world’s No. 1 ranked tennis player was first detained for several hours at Melbourne airport, then held in a refugee building from which he was not allowed to leave until finally, a judge decided to release him. Subsequently, the Ministry of Immigration detained him again, and the courts decided to deport him.
In addition to the unpleasant moment experienced, this situation prevented the player from defending his title at the Australian Open.
The claims come after Tennis Australia refused to pay Djokovic’s legal bills during his battle to stay in the country.
“It’s well known that Novak and his family feel he was poorly treated in the quarantine hotel in Melbourne. His mother revealed how it was full of fleas and maggots. He was kept a virtual prisoner,” a source close to Djokovic told British newspaper The Sun. For this reason, the 34-year-old athlete would now go for a lawsuit as his next step.
The $6 million that the tennis player would claim includes $4 million in prize money he expected to collect by winning the Australian Open for the tenth time and being the No. 1 candidate for victory.
In turn, according to local law, Djokovic faces a ban on returning to the country for three years, except in certain exceptions, which may include “compelling circumstances affecting Australia’s interests.”
The dispute began when the Serb arrived in Melbourne on Jan. 5 on a medical exemption for not being vaccinated because he had recently been infected with COVID-19 and recovered. As a result, the authorities considered him a tourist at risk and decided to suspend his entry visa.
A five-day legal battle ensued that finally ended with the tennis player’s deportation.
After hearing the news, Djokovic issued a public statement in which he asked for some time to “rest and recuperate” before making further comments. However, he also noted that he “respects” the decision of the Australian justice system and that at all times, he cooperated with the authorities.
“Unfortunately for the last few weeks the focus (of interest) has been me and I hope (now) we can focus on the sport and the tournament I love,” said Djokovic. However, he did not forget to wish luck to the participants and thank his family and fans for their support.