Djokovic thanks you for your support.

Novak Djokovic was the top male tennis player in the world. He spent Orthodox Christmas at an Australian immigration detention hotel on Friday in order to avoid deportation for violating the COVID-19 rules.

Djokovic thanks you for your support.

Djokovic was contacted by his native Serbia and his parents, as well as the president, in an effort to lift his spirits during the holiday.

He posted the following message on Instagram: "Thanks to all the people around the globe for your continued support. It is something I can feel and it is greatly appreciated.

The 34-year old athlete and vaccine skeptic was denied entry to Australia on Wednesday night after federal border officials at Melbourne airport refused his medical exemption from Australia's COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

In Melbourne, he was taken to the detention facility to await a court hearing Monday. This is a week before the tournament starts.

Djokovic's supporters waved banners outside Park Hotel, which used to be a refugee and asylum-seeker shelter.

The nine-time Australian Open champion, a priest from Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne, asked to visit him to celebrate Orthodox Christmas. However, immigration officials turned him down because the hotel was under lockdown.

Milorad Locard, the dean of the church, said that Christmas is rich in many customs and that it was so important that a priest visited him. It is absurd that he must spend Christmas in jail.

The Australian Border Force stated Friday that, after further investigation into two others connected to the Australian Open a voluntary left the country. Another was placed in detention pending deportation.

One of them was Renata Voracova, a 38-year-old doubles player. She said that she wouldn't be playing in the tournament.

COVID-19 Australia rules state that all incoming travellers must have received two doses of an approved vaccine or have an exemption for a legitimate medical reason such as an acute condition. This will prevent them from being quarantined. To be allowed to the tournament venue, all players, officials, and fans must have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

After obtaining a medical exemption, Djokovic was able to fly to Australia. This exemption was approved by the Victoria state government and backed by the tennis federation of the country. The reasons for the exemption are not known. However, the Australian government declared it invalid upon his arrival.

In a city where residents were restricted from movement for 256 days in 2020-21, the dispute has become a sensitive topic. Djokovic's exclusion has sparked claims that the star athlete received special treatment.

Some players sympathize with the situation. Others say that getting vaccinated would have avoided any drama.

Despite this latest twist in the dispute, many who were critical of Djokovic previously are now in his side.

"Look, I believe in taking action. I was vaccinated for my mother's health and because of others. But how we are handling Novak is terrible," Nick Kyrgios (an Australian player) posted on Twitter. He was a vocal critic of Djokovic’s views on vaccinations. "This is one our great champions, but at the end the day, he's human. Do better.

Craig Tiley, director of the Australian Open tournament, stated earlier this week that 26 people were involved with the tournament and applied for medical exemptions. Only a handful were granted. Three of those exemptions have been challenged.

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