Bologna manager Sinisa Mihajlovic has claimed that Novak Djokovic is a victim of mismanagement at the Australian Open.
Djokovic travelled to Australia with a medical exemption from getting the Covid-19 vaccine, as his team claim he tested positive in a PCR test on December 16.
However, upon arriving in the country the tennis star was ordered to leave due to issues with the exemption on the visa which he applied for, which has prompted a legal battle against his deportation.
Mihajlovic believes that the organisers of the Australian Open are at fault and insisted that his fellow Serbian is not responsible.
Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic says Novak Djokovic isn’t to blame for Australian Open fiasco
Djokovic supporters have also gathered in protest back in his home country of Serbia
Djokovic has been sent to a deportation hotel in Melbourne for refugees and asylum seekers and will have his case heard on Monday.
His supporters in Serbia have been seen gathering in large numbers to protest his treatment in Melbourne.
Mihajlovic commented that the situation has made Djokovic ‘an anti-vaxx hero’.
As reported by Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Mihajlovic said: ‘It’s a tricky situation, to me, organisers are at fault.
‘They should have followed the Government’s guidelines and don’t guarantee Djokovic that he would play. If he went to Australia, it means that there were the conditions to give him a medical exemption.
‘To me, Djokovic is a victim, he is not the man responsible for this mess. It’s ridiculous to the world’s No 1-ranked male tennis player locked inside a deportation hotel, even if that could shed light on the condition of asylum seekers.
‘They should have respected the rules. By doing what they did, they made Djokovic become an anti-vaxx hero.’
Djokovic’s legal team claimed in recent days that he was subjected to an eight-hour ordeal in which airport security refused to let him sleep, denied him time to speak to his lawyers and unlawfully cancelled his visa.
Djokovic was said to be ‘shocked and confused’ by the remarkable scenes that unfolded overnight in Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on January 6-7, with the Serbian insisting he had complied with all the authorities’ requirements for entering the country.
There will be a court hearing on Monday to determine whether he is deported from Australia
His lawyers claim that the border security staff made a ‘mischievous and spurious’ attempt to rush Djokovic into agreeing to the cancellation of his visa, thus preventing him from competing in next week’s Australian Open.
There will be a court hearing on Monday to determine what happens next for the nine-time Australian Open champion a week out from the tournament.
Mihajlovic’s Bologna side have been heavily affected by Covid-19, with the team being forced into quarantine this week.
Bologna’s game against Inter Milan was abandoned in farcical scenes, with Inter forced to train and turn up for the game even though there weren’t any Bologna players present.
The game between Cagliari and Bologna has been moved Tuesday.
Mihajlovic says that each player in his squad has had at least two doses of the vaccine, but confirmed that Nicola Sansone was reluctant to get vaccinated.
Mihajlovic confirmed that Bologna’s Nicola Sansone is reluctant to get the Covid-19 vaccine
Mihajlovic said: ‘We have 10 cases, everyone has got at least two doses of vaccine and the booster was in program between Monday and Tuesday.
‘We’ll play against Cagliari on Tuesday, but I don’t understand why they are in a hurry to play the game.
‘Cagliari and us don’t have cup games and I’ve been coaching the Primavera team for a week. Some of the starters are self-isolating after having contact with some of their positive teammates.
‘Who will play on Tuesday? What kind of league is this? How is this something regular? I understand the emergency, but it’s not acceptable to navigate every time.’
Commenting on Sansone, Mihajlovic, who contracted the virus in August 2020, said: ‘He [Sansone] didn’t want to take the vaccine, but if the rules say you must get it, then do it, or you are out.I would eliminate swab tests after the booster.
‘Doctors say that with the third dose, Omicron becomes like normal flu, so we should act accordingly, staying home until we feel OK.’