Tennis-Australia cancels Czech player Voracova's visa


  • Tennis
  • Friday, 07 Jan 2022

FILE PHOTO: Aug 4, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Renata Voracova of Czech Republic hits a shot against Alison Riske of the United States (not pictured) during the qualifications in the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at IGA Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Czech Renata Voracova became the second Australian Open participant to be held in detention in a sweep by authorities on players entering the country with vaccination exemptions.

Doubles specialist Voracova's detention follows that of world number one Novak Djokovic, who was detained at Melbourne's airport on Wednesday.

Voracova played in Melbourne earlier this week but has been asked to leave Australia after her detention by Border Force officials, local media reported on Friday.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Voracova had decided to leave the country.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) said an individual had left the country voluntarily while a third had been taken into immigration detention, without naming the Czech player.

"The ABF can confirm that one individual has voluntarily departed Australia following ABF inquiries," the ABF said.

"We can also confirm that the visa of a third individual has been cancelled. This person has been taken into immigration detention pending their removal from Australia."

The Czech Foreign Ministry added that it had lodged a formal protest through its embassy in Canberra.

DOUBLES SPECIALIST

Voracova was a promising junior who won the French Open girls doubles title in 2001.

The 38-year-old made her grand slam singles debut in 2002 in New York but has won only one of her 12 matches at the majors and is currently ranked 81.

She has fared far better in doubles, winning 11 titles and reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017. Voracova has career earnings of $1.88 million.

She is being held at the Park Hotel in Carlton, the same hotel where Djokovic, who has won $154,756,726 in prize money along with 20 grand slam titles, is being detained.

In another development, the Herald Sun published an information sheet sent from Tennis Australia to players on Dec. 7 that shows it passed on advice regarding grounds for medical exemptions that differs from the recommendations it received from federal authorities.

The document advises a COVID-19 infection in the last six months could be considered grounds that would enable an unvaccinated player to enter the country, provided it was accompanied by documents certifying the infection.

It contradicts advice the Federal Government sent to TA in November stressing that a prior infection in the past six months did not meet the requirements for quarantine-free entry.

The Victorian Government said on Friday that TA did not advise them of this development.

TA told the Herald Sun it completely rejected that players were "knowingly misled" and had used guidance from the health minister's advisory group on immunisation to explain player eligibility under Victoria's laws to the playing group.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson, Alison Williams, Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)

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