Czech player joins Novak in exemption mess
Murray Wenzel and Ian Chadband |
Novak Djokovic is not the only competitor to have his visa cancelled as the Czech Foreign Ministry joined the growing list demanding answers over the Australian Open’s medical exemption bungle.
Doubles specialist Renata Voracova has been confirmed to be at the same Melbourne hotel as the world No.1 after having her visa cancelled by the Australian Border Force (ABF) on Thursday.
And the ABF has also confirmed that action has been taken against a third person.
“One individual has voluntarily departed Australia … and the visa of a third individual has been cancelled,” the ABF said.
The ABF added that one person had been taken into immigration detention pending deportation, but declined to to give details.
The 38-year-old veteran Voracova, ranked world No.81 in doubles, arrived in Australia last month and has already played in a warm-up event in Melbourne.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has ordered a ‘please explain’ from Australian officials.
A statement from Prague confirmed Voracova would return home and not challenge the decision, while also suggesting there were more players already in the same predicament.
“We can confirm that Czech tennis player Renata Voracova is in the same detention as Djokovic, together with several other players,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We submitted through our embassy in Canberra a protest note and are asking for an explanation of the situation.
“However, Renata Voracova decided to drop out of the tournament due to limited possibilities for training and to leave Australia.”
Serbia’s world No.1 Djokovic spent a third night in a quarantine hotel awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the decision by the ABF to cancel the reigning Australian Open champion’s entry visa and deport him.
The revelation of Voracova’s likely Australian departure came as NewsCorp published an information sheet sent from Tennis Australia to players last month.
The letter outlines the grounds for medical exemptions for vaccinations, including a COVID-19 infection in the last six months that is at odds with the advice TA received from government authorities.
The Victorian Government, who initially granted both Djokovic and Voracova an exemption, said on Friday that TA did not advise them of this development.
But TA responded by saying it completely rejected that players were “knowingly misled”, adding that it had used guidance from the health minister’s advisory group on immunisation to explain player eligibility under Victoria’s laws to the playing group.