Novak Djokovic spends Orthodox Christmas in detention as he breaks his silence to thank fans

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Despite his Australian ban, Djokovic will be allowed to play in the French Open later this year even if he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, France’s sports minister said on Friday. 

France does not bar unvaccinated people from entering its territory but imposes tougher restrictions than on those who have had the shot.

Mr Djokovic’s family have gone on the offensive, holding a press conference in front of their son’s nine previous Australian Open trophies on Thursday as they protested him being put in a hotel “for immigrants, full of fleas with horrible food”.

His father, Srdjan, likened his son to “Spartacus”.

“Jesus was crucified and endured many things but is still alive among us. Novak is also crucified. He will endure,” he said.

But others have blamed Djokovic for knowingly flouting the rules. 

“If he hasn’t filled out the forms appropriately then he’s taking the sovereign capacity of another nation for a joke,” Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told the BBC.

“He’s got to understand you’ve been graced by God with a certain talent but that certain talent does not rise above the sovereign rights of other nations.”

Spanish champion Rafael Nadal, who is also in Australia, said he felt sorry for his rival “but at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago”.

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