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Renata Voracova tennis australian open, covid 19 coronavirus cases Victoria

Renata Voracova tennis australian open, covid 19 coronavirus cases Victoria
Renata Voracova
Voracova, a Czech doubles specialist, joins Djokovic in detention following a vaccine row
  • Czech authorities confirm the cancellation of Renata Voracova's visa.
  • Border Force sweeps in response to vaccine exemption restrictions
  • Djokovic expresses gratitude to 'people all over the world' for their support.

A second tennis player's visa has been revoked and they have been advised to leave the country by the Australian Border Force, as Novak Djokovic issued his first public statement since his detention, thanking fans for their support.

Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic, who is scheduled to play in the Australian Open this month, entered Melbourne with the same medical exemption as Djokovic, indicating that she had recently recovered from Covid-19. Voracova competed in the Melbourne Summer Set event, where she lost in the first round alongside her partner, Kateryzna Piter.

"We can confirm that Renata Voracova, a Czech tennis player, is being held alongside Djokovic and several other players," the Czech foreign ministry said in a statement. There was no confirmation of any additional players being detained.

With supporters and detractors gathered outside the Park hotel where Voracova joined him, Djokovic issued his first public statement since his arrival in Melbourne on Friday night local time. "I would like to express my gratitude to the people of the world for their unwavering support. "I sense it, and it's greatly appreciated," he wrote in a post on his Instagram stories in both Serbian and English.

Vorocova's detention comes amid the fallout from Djokovic's visa being revoked and his removal to an immigration hotel on Thursday pending a weekend appeal hearing. As the reason for his denial of entry became the focus of an opportunistic political storm, the Border Forces began tracking down two other Australian Open competitors who had entered Melbourne using the same medical exemption.

The Park hotel in downtown Melbourne is a well-known immigration detention facility where Djokovic and Vorocova are being held alongside several refugees who have been sequestered in their rooms for years.

While Djokovic has chosen to appeal his detention, Voracova has decided not to contest her visa's cancellation and will depart Australia. Voracova, 38, a former top 100 singles player who is now ranked 81st in doubles, has earned $1.8 million over the course of her 22-year career and has far fewer resources than Djokovic.

"Through our embassy in Canberra, we lodged a protest and requested an explanation of the situation. Renata Voracova, on the other hand, chose to withdraw from the tournament due to limited training opportunities and to leave Australia," the ministry statement added.

As word of Voracova's visa cancellation spread, Nicole Melichar-Martinez, the No. 12 doubles player, took to Twitter to criticize the move. "This is incorrect on a multitude of levels," she wrote. "She has already participated. She is fully recovered and thus probably the safest person to be around. This is no longer a health issue; it is a political one."

Meanwhile, leaked documents on Friday raised additional questions about Tennis Australia's response to Djokovic's detention. Tennis Australia informed players in an email sent to the sport's governing bodies that a recent positive Covid-19 test could be one of the reasons for a medical exemption.

The emails to the players came a week after Greg Hunt, the federal health minister, emailed Craig Tiley, the chief executive of Tennis Australia, on 29 November to inform him that individuals who are not fully vaccinated would not be approved for quarantine-free entry to Australia and that individuals who contracted Covid-19 within the previous six months would not be considered fully vaccinated.

Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic played a warm-up tournament in Melbourne this week after being granted entry to Australia.
Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic played a warm-up tournament in Melbourne this week after being granted entry to Australia.

The Victorian government stated that it was unaware of Tennis Australia's discussions with the federal government. "I'm advised that members of the Victorian government were unaware of that correspondence," Jacinta Allan, the state's acting premier, said. "We might not see it... However, it reaffirms that the Commonwealth government is responsible for issuing visas, and how they engage in dialogue with Tennis Australia is up to them."

Karen Andrews, Australia's minister for home affairs, refuted the notion that Djokovic is being held captive in the country. "He is free to leave [the country] at any time he wishes," Andrews told ABC.

Djokovic's visa was revoked upon his Wednesday arrival at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport. He is expected to remain at the Park hotel at least until Monday, the date of a hearing in which he will seek to reverse the Australian government's decision to cancel his visa.

Despite the fact that Djokovic's case has escalated, Tennis Australia and Tiley have remained silent publicly since Djokovic was detained at the airport.

Earlier in the day on Friday, Djokovic found support from peers in both unexpected and expected places. Nick Kyrgios, who has previously made disparaging remarks about Djokovic, pleaded with people to "do better" when discussing Djokovic's situation. "Look, I am a firm believer in taking action; I was vaccinated for the sake of others and my mother's health, but the way we are handling Novak's situation is appalling, truly appalling. As with these memes and headlines, this is one of our greatest champions, but he is also human. "Perform better," Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.

John Isner also lent his support to Djokovic. Isner, a member of the Professional Tennis Players' Association, which was co-founded by the Serb, lamented Djokovic's treatment: "What Novak is going through right now is not right." There is no rationale for the treatment he is undergoing. He followed the rules, was admitted to Australia, and is now imprisoned against his will. This is a disgrace."

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