Djokovic locked down in hotel awaiting visa appeal result
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A second tennis player with a medical exemption has had their Australian visa revoked and been detained in the same hotel as Novak Djokovic. Renata Voracova had already competed in a Melbourne event but has now been informed that she must leave the country. Djokovic announced he received an exemption to compete in the Australian Open but had his visa cancelled when landing in Melbourne, and is now awaiting an appeal hearing while staying in a quarantine hotel. It comes as leaked documents show that Tennis Australia wrongly informed players of the criteria for a medical exemption.
Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he received “an exemption permission”, later confirmed by Tennis Australia to be a medical exemption, allowing him to fly to Melbourne for the Australian Open.
But the world No 1 had his visa cancelled upon arrival after Australian Border Force found an “issue” with his visa while he was en route to Melbourne, and the Serb was questioned overnight in an airport room.
The nine-time Aussie Open winner had attempted to enter the country on the basis that he had recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months – the grounds for his Tennis Australia-approved medical exemption – but provided “minimal” proof supported by just one doctor and was unable to give more evidence upon request.
After his lawyers appealed the decision, Djokovic was taken to a government detention hotel in the city and will remain there until Monday, when the appeal hearing will resume at 10am local time.
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Now, it has been revealed that a second player has had their visa cancelled and been detained in the same hotel as the Serb.
Czech tennis player Renata Voracova, who has already played a doubles match in an Australian Open warm-up tournament in Melbourne, had her visa revoked on Thursday after entering the country on the same grounds as Djokovic, according to Australia’s ABC.
The doubles world No 81 is believed to have entered the country last month with a vaccine medical exemption granted by Tennis Australia, on the grounds that she had recently recovered from a recent Covid-19 infection.
Australian Border Force officials informed the 38-year-old that she needed to leave the country but it is not yet known whether she will challenge the decision like Djokovic, while Czech diplomats are thought to be in contact with Voracova.
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The news comes as leaked documents confirmed Tennis Australia wrongly informed tennis players that they qualified for a medical exemption if they had contracted and recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months.
On Thursday, two leaked letters from Australia’s Health Minister and a representative for the country’s Department of Health showed that the federal government had explicitly told Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley that recent infection was insufficient grounds for a medical exemption back in November.
“The Australian Border Force has advised that people must be fully vaccinated, as defined by ATAGI (the national advisory body on vaccines) to gain quarantine-free entry into Australia,” Greg Hunt told the Tennis Australia boss and Australian Open tournament director two months ago.
“In relation to your specific questions, I can confirm that people who contracted Covid-19 within the past six months and seek to enter Australia from overseas, and have not received two doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved or recognised vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated.”
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