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Renata Voráčová sees visa canceled by Australian Border Force a day after losing Melbourne doubles match
Questions and confusion are mounting, as it is believed the Czech received a medical exemption on the same criteria as Novak Djokovic—a reason that is not supported by the federal government for being unvaccinated.
Published Jan 07, 2022
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Renata Voráčová, a WTA competitor ranked No. 81 in doubles, became the second player to have their visa canceled by Australian Border Force (ABF).
Unlike ATP world No. 1 Novak Djokovic however, Voráčová had already been cleared to enter Australia—and even competed in a tournament this week—furthering questions, confusion and outrage over the medical exemption process overseen by Tennis Australia (TA) and the Victorian government.
It is believed Voráčová received the exemption for the same reason as Djokovic, a prior COVID-19 infection within the last six months. That justification was reported to have been communicated on multiple occasions in November to TA as an unacceptable reason to be vaccine-free, first by Department of Health First Assistant Secretary Lisa Schofield, and later Department of Health and Health Minister Greg Hunt, raising eyebrows over how the exemption process with two independent panels proceeded, and why the ABF permitted Voráčová’s entry in the first place without a mandatory quarantine.
The carousel of blame was shifted to TA—where Craig Tiley serves as CEO—on Friday when acting Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan stated her government was unaware of TA's communication with health authorities.
“I'm advised that Victorian government officials were not aware or had not seen that correspondence,” Allan said Friday.
“We're not involved in the movement and issuing of visas for individuals who may entering the country for work, business or event purposes. That's not our role.”
The 38-year-old Voráčová lost her opening doubles match Wednesday with Katarzyna Piter at the Melbourne Summer Set 2, a 250-level event. She was transported Thursday to the Park Hotel in Carlton, the same property where Djokovic is currently detained, as confirmed by the Czech Foreign Ministry. It appears Voráčová will not pursue the same path as Djokovic in appealing with the hope of competing at the Australian Open, which begins January 17.
“We submitted through our embassy in Canberra a protest note and are asking for an explanation of the situation,” the ministry’s statement read. “However, Renata Voráčová decided to drop out of the tournament due to limited possibilities for training and to leave Australia.”
The Age reported Friday evening that a third participant who entered on the same exemption, a non-player, already left the country on their own accord.