Regardless of who made an error on the visa or the vaccination waiver or whatever, the reality on Friday for men's tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic was spending one his important religious holidays in an Australian detention hotel working on his challenge against deportation.
He has been receiving calls from Serbia, including from his parents and the president, hoping to boost his spirits. A priest from the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne sought permission from immigration authorities to visit the nine-time Australian Open champion to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas.
"Our Christmas is rich in many customs and it is so important that a priest visits him," the church's dean, Milorad Locard, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "The whole thing around this event is appalling. That he has to spend Christmas in detention ... it is unthinkable."
Djokovic's supporters gathered outside the Park Hotel, used to house refugees and asylum seekers near downtown Melbourne, waving flags and banners.
They mixed with human rights advocates who were there more to highlight the plight for other longer-term people in detention, many who've complained about their living conditions and exposure to the coronavirus in the pandemic.