• Novak Djokovic requested personal chef and access to hotel while in Melbourne
  • Refugees staying at hotel had complained about poor living conditions
  • Maggot-riddled food, mouldy bread and bugs in room were among complaints 
  • Djokovic has broken his silence from inside Australian border detention hotel 
  • Serbian tennis ace thanked fans for their support as he fights deportation 
  • He also wished followers a happy Christmas, because he is celebrating the event today in line with the Orthodox tradition 
  • Comes after his wife asked for ‘love and forgiveness’ amid the border fiasco 

By AIDAN WONDRACZ FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA and CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE 

PUBLISHED: 09:43 AEDT, 8 January 2022 | UPDATED: 10:47 AEDT, 8 January 2022

Novak Djokovic requested a personal chef and access to a tennis court while staying in a Melbourne hotel but his demands were rejected by Australian Border Force. 

The World No. 1 has been told he will receive no special treatment while he remains in immigration custody at the $109-a-night Park Hotel in Carlton.

Djokovic has been forced to tough it out alongside 32 other refugees and asylum seekers who have previously complained about poor living conditions at the hotel that has been dubbed the ‘Alternative Place of Detention’.Farruko Shows Off His Insane Jewelry Collections | On the RocksPauseNext video0:36 / 7:07Full-screen

Maggot-riddled food, mouldy bread, fires, Covid outbreaks and bugs in rooms are among the complaints made by some of the guests.

Djokovic had requested a personal chef so he could maintain his very strict diet as the tennis pro lives with an intolerance to gluten.

Novak Djokovic requested a personal chef and access to a tennis court while staying in a Melbourne hotel before his demands were rejected by Australian Border Force

The World No. 1 has been told he will receive no special treatment as he remains in immigration custody at the $109-a-night Park Hotel in Carlton

The World No. 1 has been told he will receive no special treatment as he remains in immigration custody at the $109-a-night Park Hotel in Carlton

Djokovic has been forced to tough it out alongside 32 other refugees and asylum seekers who have previously complained about poor living conditions at the hotel that has been dubbed the 'Alternative Place of Detention'+19

Djokovic has been forced to tough it out alongside 32 other refugees and asylum seekers who have previously complained about poor living conditions at the hotel that has been dubbed the ‘Alternative Place of Detention’

The 34-year-old had also asked to be transferred to a rented apartment with a tennis court so he could train and remain in top shape ahead of the Australian Open with the tournament set to begin in a little over a week on January 17.

Djokovic even offered to pay for private guards in the hopes he could make the move.

Australian Border Force have rejected all of his requests and insisted he will remain at the hotel until a court rules on his deportation on Monday.

His detainment at the hotel has sparked rallies in Melbourne and Belgrade with the Serbian government claiming the conditions are not ‘befitting’ to the best sportsman while Djokovic’s family have accused the Australian government of treating their son like a ‘prisoner’. 

The site been used as a government detention hotel since December 2020, with staff and guests previously slamming it as an ‘incubator’ for Covid.

The anti-vaxx Djokovic, who has refused to reveal how many, if any, Covid jabs he has received, will have to remain in his room where the windows are sealed shut and air is circulated by air conditioners. 

In October, nearly half of those being held in the hotel tested positive for the Delta strain, with one man taken to hospital by ambulance.

Refugees are made to share a common kitchen area and lift if travelling between floors.

People who test positive are moved to the first floor but this can happen days after the tests are taken.  

Photos shared by horrified detainees in the hotel showed maggots and mould in the food provided
Photos shared by horrified detainees in the hotel showed maggots and mould in the food provided

Photos shared by horrified detainees in the hotel allegedly showed maggots and mould in the food provided Photos shared by an asylum seeker showing the food that is being served to guests at the Park Hotel

Photos shared by an asylum seeker showing the food that is being served to guests at the Park Hotel Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena

Novak Djokovic (left and right with wife Jelena) has broken his silence from inside immigration detention in Australia after being denied entry 

Djokovic has spoken out from inside Australian border detention to thank his family and fans for their support as he waits to hear whether he will be deported.

The Serbian tennis ace, who has been held since Wednesday after he was barred from entering the country to compete in the Australian Open, also posted a Christmas message 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.’

The athlete’s post came after wife Jelena penned her own Instagram post lending support to her husband while calling for ‘love and forgiveness’. 

Jelena asked for ‘love and respect’ in message posted alongside a photo of the couple to the social media on Friday (pictured)The 35-year-old mother-of-two said she is 'taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude and understanding' in a message posted on Instagram (above)+19

The 35-year-old mother-of-two said she is ‘taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude and understanding’ in a message posted on Instagram (above)Djokovic+19

Djokovic+19

In one message, written in Serbian and English (left), he thanked his family and fans for standing by him. In a second (right) he wished Orthodox Christians a happy Christmas, which they are marking today

The 35-year-old mother-of-two, who met Djokovic as a teenager and has been censured for spreading Covid disinformation in the past, wrote on Instagram that she is ‘taking a deep breath to calm down and find gratitude (and understanding) in this moment for all that is happening.’

‘Thank you dear people, all around the world for using your voice to send love to my husband,’ she added. ‘The only law that we should all respect across every single border is Love and respect for another human being.’ 

She also wished her husband a ‘happy Christmas’ because Orthodox Christians mark Jesus’s birthday on January 7. An Orthodox priest said it was ‘appalling’ that Djokovic is spending the day in a hotel likened to a ‘torture chamber’.

Her message was posted amid protests in Serbia led by Djokovic’s parents, who have slammed his treatment by Australian border officials – claiming he is being held ‘prisoner’ in ‘terrible’ conditions.

But Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has hit back, saying Djokovic can leave any time he wants and is staying of his own will while lawyers contest the border ruling. His case is due in court Monday. 

‘Mr Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia, he is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so and Border Force will actually facilitate that,’ she said. 

She spoke as the blame game among Australian officials over the saga continued, with Victoria’s state premier today pointing the finger at tennis bosses. 

Jacinta Allan, acting Victorian premier, has been under pressure because it was her state which granted Djokovic a medical exemption – believed to be on the grounds that he was previously infected with Covid because he is not currently vaccinated.

But Allan clarified on Friday, saying the exemption only qualified Djokovic to play in the tournament and not to cross the Australian border.

Instead she pointed the finger of blame at Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia boss, after it emerged the Department of Health sent him two letters back in November saying that prior Covid infection would not be sufficient to cross the border.

Allan said Tiley failed to inform her government that the exemption which qualified Djokovic to play in the tournament would not get him into the country.

According to her account, it was this failed communication which led Djokovic to board a flight to Australia believing he had been granted an exemption to enter the country – when in fact he had not.

Ms Allan said: ‘It is the Commonwealth government … that’s responsible for issuing visas and how they engage in that dialogue with bodies like Tennis Australia is a matter for them.’ 

Exemptions to play in the Australian Open are ‘very much separate from the visa process,’ Allan added. 

Djokovich 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.  

Leaked letter PROVES Tennis Australia bosses told unvaccinated players a past Covid infection  would get them into the country

A leaked letter has revealed that unvaccinated tennis players were told they could attend the Australian Open provided they had Covid within the last six months – piling pressure on Tennis Australia bosses over the Novak Djokovic border debacle. 

Guidance sent to players in early December and now leaked to the press lays out reasons that athletes can qualify for a ‘medical exemption’ to enter Australia, saying that ‘recently recovered cases’ will be allowed into the country.

To qualify, players were told to provide a Covid-positive PCR test dated after July 31 along with antibody tests proving natural immunity ‘if available’. The leak will heap pressure on Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley to prove what he was told and when, and why exactly that guidance was issued.

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It is believed that Djokovic travelled to Australia using this exemption only to be stopped at the border and told that he didn’t meet requirements, leaving him languishing in a ‘torture chamber’ hotel used for detained immigrants.

Mr Tiley was already under pressure after Jacinta Allan, acting Victorian premier, accused him of failing to disclose guidance he was given in November saying that prior infections would not count at border control.

She denied that a medical exemption issued by her state had qualified Djokovic to cross the Australian border, saying it only gave him access to venues in the state.

Ms Allan said: ‘It is the Commonwealth government … that’s responsible for issuing visas and how they engage in that dialogue with bodies like Tennis Australia is a matter for them.’ 

Exemptions to play in the Australian Open are ‘very much separate from the visa process,’ Allan added.