Czech player expelled from Australia did nothing wrong, WTA says

WTA has offered support to Czech tennis player Renata Voracova

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) backed Renata Voracova after the veteran star had her visa canceled and told to leave Australia following the row surrounding world number one boy Novak Djokovic.

Voracova became collateral damage in the aftermath of the visa saga that was sparked when defending Australian Open champion Djokovic arrived in the country last week with a vaccine exemption granted by local tennis authorities and the State of Victoria.

Border officials disagreed with the exemption as the unvaccinated Serbian star had his visa canceled before being detained at a notorious Melbourne immigration center.

It then emerged that at least two other players had already entered Australia with medical exemptions similar to Djokovic’s – one of which was Voracova, 38, who is not vaccinated but has recovered from a Covid-19 infection in December.

The Czech had already appeared at a tournament in Melbourne before being tracked down by the Australian Border Force (ABF).

The veteran was held in the same Melbourne immigration hotel as Djokovic before having his visa canceled and forced to leave the country last weekend.

The WTA has now weighed in after Voracova indicated she would seek compensation from Tennis Australia.

“The WTA supports and appreciates all of the efforts of Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia to host the Summer of Tennis in conditions that continue to be difficult for all,” read a statement from the WTA.

“The WTA believes that all players should be vaccinated and fully supports the immigration policies that have been put in place as the protection of the Australian communities in which we compete is essential.

“That being said, the complications encountered over the past few days when athletes have gone through the approved and cleared process to receive medical exemption for entry into the country are regrettable,” he added.

Voracova was sent packing ahead of the Australian Open. Getty Images

“Renata Voracova followed these rules and procedures, was allowed entry on arrival, participated in an event, and then her visa was suddenly canceled even though she had done nothing wrong.

“We will continue to work with all authorities to deal with this unfortunate situation appropriately.”

Voracova detailed her ordeal to Reuters and Czech media on Tuesday, saying she was “still waking up from the shock” of the experience.

“I didn’t expect that in the darkest dream, it was just too much,” said the former world number 29 doubles.

“I hope Tennis Australia will cope with it [and pay compensation] and that we will not have to take legal steps, ”she added.

Despite Djokovic’s high-profile saga that ultimately led to his expulsion, Voracova said she still hopes the Serbian will have the chance to stay in Australia to compete for the Melbourne title he has won over the past three years. and a nine-time record in total.

Djokovic’s fate remains uncertain even though a federal circuit court judge ordered his release and reinstatement of his visa on Monday.

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke reserved the right to intervene personally in the case, while Djokovic was forced to apologize on Wednesday after it emerged there was an error in the travel declaration that he presented to the authorities.

Specifically, it was reported that Djokovic had not traveled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia, when in fact he was in Serbia in late December before decamping to Spain and then heading to Down Under. via transit in Dubai.

The basis of Djokovic’s case to stay in Australia is the medical exemption he received after recovering from a Covid-19 infection in December, although officials said that was not enough and that he had to be fully vaccinated to enter.

In addition to Voracova and Djokovic, an anonymous player in the same boat is said to have left Australia “voluntarily” after being tracked down by ABF last week.



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