Tuesday, December 06, 2022

After Djokovic expulsion: Serbia’s President Vucic announces “response” to Australia

IIn a four-minute video shared on Instagram over the weekend, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic launched a scathing attack on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and announced the Serbian response to the expulsion of tennis player Novak Djokovic. At the same time, he presented the case as a kind of world conspiracy against Serbia and the Serbian people.


Michael Martens

Correspondent for Southeast European countries based in Vienna.

Vucic commented on the alleged attacks, “But what they could never take away from us as a person is our heart, our pride, our dignity.” The pressure on Djokovic to “a Serbian citizen, a Serb, a citizen of this country” has reached such proportions that it is impossible to answer.

Serbia often has to listen to lessons about the rule of law, the Serbian president said in a video captured in a snowy winter landscape. He asked what would have happened if a minister in Serbia reversed the court’s decision and accused Australia of not being a constitutional state, “because all power is in the hands of the executive.”

Serbs ‘will fight for Novak Djokovic’

Even more important, however, is the “ethical issue” of the matter, according to Vucic. If you wanted to stop Djokovic from winning the tennis tournament in Melbourne again, “Why didn’t you send him back immediately?”. In this sentence, it is not grammatically clear whether “he” refers to the Australian Prime Minister, the Australian state, or the Australian government, but the context suggests that it refers to Scott Morrison of Australia.

Vučić continues: “Why do you abuse not only him, but his family and the entire free and proud nation? Do you need it to win an election? (…) I’m telling the truth, and you too Know that I’m telling the truth,” Vucic said. The Serbs will “fight for Novak Djokovic,” the president declared.

Apparently addressed to journalists around the world who have been critical of the trickery and at least questionable documents over the past few days that the athlete and his team entered Australia in order to be able to take part in tennis were presented. Tournaments without vaccinations, Vucic said, could “write even hundreds of thousands of worst texts about him”, none of which will change the fact that Djokovic remains “the greatest tennis player of all time”.

Serbia’s most powerful politician expressed his respect for the Australian people, but also declared, now apparently again turning to Morrison or the Australian government: “Serbia will know how to respond to you, Novak. Treating Djokovic better than you ever did.” Vucic did it. Don’t say what the Serbian answer will be. He concluded by saying: “Long live Serbia! Nowak, we are with you!”

Serb President Milorad Dodi in Bosnia-Hercegovina also joined the charges. To many around the world, and to the Bosnian Serb in particular, Djokovic is “much more than an athlete”. Dodik said in an open letter to the athlete, the Serbs are “infinitely proud” of Djokovic’s behavior and are convinced that “only a Serb can go so far.” “You have shown once again that you are one of the best sons this people has produced for centuries.”

For the Serbs in Bosnia there is no doubt that a good portion of the attacks Djokovic had to endure “because you are a Serb”. With Djokovic’s expulsion from Australia, not only Australians and tennis lost, but “all the truth-loving people in the world”.

Meanwhile, the reception of the tennis player in Serbia is awaited. “I told Novak that I can’t wait for him to come back to Serbia, to his country, where he is always welcome,” Vucic said after a phone conversation with the athlete.

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