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The first tennis major of the year, the Australia Open, is just around the corner; but for the time being, it is unclear whether the men's singles world number one will be able to take part.
Novak Djokovic is spending a third day in Melbourne’s Park Hotel, which is used to house asylum seekers and refugees, having found himself embroiled in a row over whether he is exempt from Australia's Covid-19 vaccination rules.
The nine-time Australian Open winner must wait for a hearing on Monday (10 January) to discover his fate, and until then, he will have to make do without a couple of special requests, which have been rejected.
According to The Australian newspaper, the 34-year-old asked if his personal chef could cook for him while he is being held in his quarantine hotel, fearful that his dietary needs aren't being met.
He also asked if he could move to a rented house with access to a tennis court.
Both requests have been denied.
Djokovic's lawyers have said that he was granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he contracted Covid-19 last month.
In court documents published today (Saturday 8 January), it is stated that the Serbian recorded a positive test on 16 December, and has 'not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 72 hours'.
Djokovic has been detained at the hotel since Thursday morning after his visa was cancelled following scrutiny of the medical exemption he had secured.
According to his legal team, Djokovic was also provided with a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia recording he had a medical exemption from Covid vaccination.
It is claimed that the exemption certificate was 'provided by an Independent Expert Medical Review panel commissioned by Tennis Australia', and that 'the decision of that panel had been reviewed and endorsed by an independent Medical Exemptions Review Panel of the Victorian State Government'.
Djokovic’s lawyers added that he was granted an 'Australian Travel Declaration because he was told by the authorities that [he met] the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival into Australia'.
Djokovic broke his silence on Instagram, writing: "Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated."
His wife Jelena also took to social media to express her gratitude.
In Instagram and Twitter posts, Jelena Djokovic wrote: "Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband.
"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!"
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