Djokovic thanks fans as he awaits court decision on Australian visa

The tennis star hasn't divulged his COVID-19 vaccination status.

January 07, 2022, 12:59 PM

Novak Djokovic spoke out for the first time since he was ordered to be held in a Melbourne hotel over the cancellation of his visa a week before the start of the Australian Open.

"Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated," the 34-year-old tennis star wrote in an Instagram story.

He still didn't reveal his vaccination status, which has kept him from defending his title.

Australia's COVID-19 laws state that incoming travelers must have had two shots of an approved vaccine, or must have an exemption with a genuine medical reason, such as an acute condition, to avoid quarantine.

PHOTO: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning a point in his Men's Singles Quarterfinals match against Alexander Zverev of Germany during the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Feb. 16, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning a point in his Men's Singles Quarterfinals match against Alexander Zverev of Germany during the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Feb. 16, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia.
Matt King/Getty Images, FILE

Djokovic, who won last year's Australian Open, had been granted a medical exemption to play in the tournament, which begins on Jan. 17, however, tennis officials didn't disclose the details about that exemption.

The Australian Border Force said the medical exemptions didn't meet the country's requirements for foreign visitors and canceled his visa on Jan. 5.

Djokovic has been placed in a hotel used to house refugees and asylum seekers while he makes his case in court.

PHOTO: Djokovic supporters gather outside an immigration detention hotel where Serbia's Novak Djokovic is believed to be staying in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 7, 2022.
Djokovic supporters gather outside an immigration detention hotel where Serbia's Novak Djokovic is believed to be staying in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 7, 2022.
Hamish Blair/AP

A federal judge is scheduled to hear the case Monday.

Djokovic's fans have sent messages backing him and calling on the Australian government to let him play. Supporters in Melbourne gathered outside his hotel waving flags, ESPN reported.

PHOTO: Police stand guard at a government detention center where tennis champion Novak Djokovic is reported to be staying in Melbourne on Jan. 7, 2022, after Australia said it had cancelled the entry visa for Djokovic.
Police stand guard at a government detention center where tennis champion Novak Djokovic is reported to be staying in Melbourne on Jan. 7, 2022, after Australia said it had cancelled the entry visa for Djokovic.
William West/AFP via Getty Images

Victoria, Australia, has seen a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the last few days. On Thursday, the state recorded over 21,700 new cases, according to health officials.

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