Novak Djokovic thanks fans for their support in first message from Australian border detention hotel – after his wife called for ‘love and forgiveness’

In a statement from a detention center in Australia, tennis star Novak Djokovic has thanked his family and fans for their support as he waits to hear whether he will be deported.

The Serbian tennis player, who has been held in custody since Wednesday after being barred from entering the country to compete in the Australian Open, also posted a Christmas message on his social media today, because today is Christmas Day in the Orthodox tradition.

‘Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated,’ he wrote in English underneath a post in Serbian, in which he also thanked his family and countrymen. 

A second post against a background which featured an image of the birth of Christ said: ‘God’s peace. Christ is born. Happy Christmas. May God’s love invigorate and fulfill you all.’

Djokovic is spending Christmas in a ‘torture chamber’ hotel near Melbourne airport, after his medical exemption was torn up by immigration officials.

He’ll stay in a hotel until his legal team tries to get him into the country in time for the tournament. His case will be heard by a judge on Monday. If his appeal is rejected, he’ll be deported.

The athlete’s post came after his wife, Jelena, also posted a supportive message on Instagram, calling for “love and forgiveness.”

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