Another tennis player joins Novak Djokovic in Australian detention hotel


Czech player Renata Voracova was trapped by those who entered the country under the same vaccination exemption granted to Djokovic

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MELBOURNE – World tennis number 1 Novak Djokovic was joined on Friday by Czech player Renata Voracova in custody for Australian immigrants over COVID-19 vaccines that could defeat the Serbian’s shot in a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

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Unlike Djokovic, the 81st-ranked Voracova planned to leave the country after being taken into custody by authorities against those who entered the country under the same immunization exemption granted to Djokovic.

“Renata Voracova has decided to abandon the tournament due to limited training possibilities and to leave Australia,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that she had made a diplomatic protest and that several other players were also in the modest park. Hotel.

Djokovic, widely criticized in 2020 for hosting a tournament as the COVID-19 pandemic raged for the first time, was arrested at Melbourne airport on Wednesday. Authorities have revoked a visa granted on the basis of a medical exemption from Australia’s stringent COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

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The initial decision to grant him entry outraged many in Australia, which is battling its worst outbreak https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-suffers-record-covid-cases-straining -businesses-supply- 2022-01-06 infections and where the adult vaccination rate is greater than 90%.

The Australian government on Friday rejected suggestions from Serbian supporters, including Djokovic’s family, that he was a prisoner. “He is free to go any time he chooses to do so and the Border Force will really facilitate that,” Home Secretary Karen Andrews told reporters.

Djokovic’s lawyers have obtained legal approval to remain until a full hearing against the federal government on Monday. This should reveal more details about the exemption granted to Djokovic and the documentation he provided at the border to support it.

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The 34-year-old has not disclosed the reasons for the exemption and has consistently refused to disclose his vaccination status, while publicly criticizing the mandatory doses.

Vaccines are not required in Australia, but are required for a whole range of activities.

While confined for a second day in his hotel room, where several Afghan immigration detainees have been housed for months, Djokovic’s plight drew a mixed reaction from the tennis world.

Former world number 1 and two-time Australian Open champion Boris Becker has said that Djokovic, whom he has coached, is making a big mistake with his anti-vaccination stance.

“He’s the one who threatens what is left of his career and his chance to cement himself as the greatest player of all time,” Becker wrote in the Daily Mail.

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‘REALLY BAD’

Spanish champion Rafael Nadal https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/nadal-sorry-djokovic-says-serb-knew-risks-2022-01-06 told reporters in Melbourne he felt sorry for his rival “but at the same time he had known the conditions for many months”.

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios has said he believes in the vaccination “but the way we are dealing with Novak’s situation is bad, really bad”.

Djokovic’s wife Jelena posted on Instagram a photo of the couple kissing on a beach to mark Orthodox Christmas, saying “the one law we should all obey across every border is love and respect of another human being “.

His father and the Serbian government said his situation was a national affront.

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Djokovic had been given permission to enter Victoria without vaccination from the state government, which does not have the authority to issue visas to international visitors. Although the reason for his exemption was not disclosed, the Age newspaper reported that it was because he had contracted COVID-19 in the past six months.

Government officials from Tennis Australia and Victoria said Djokovic had not received any preferential treatment, adding that he was one of a handful of exemption approvals in an anonymous and independent assessment of 26 nominations.

Tennis Australia has not commented on the case since Djokovic’s arrest.

Some critics say Prime Minister Scott Morrison is using the question to bolster his credentials on tackling the pandemic in the run-up to an election, which the government denies.

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At Monday’s hearing, a judge will seek to elucidate the complexities of Australia’s federal system, under which states and territories can issue vaccine exemptions but the federal government controls international borders and can veto them.

The Professional Tennis Players Association, a group of dissident players launched by Djokovic in 2020, said they were in close contact with him.

“Djokovic has verified his well-being with us,” the group said in a statement. “He also requested that we allow him to personally share the facts of his detention in his own words and in his time. “

Morrison said Tennis Australia was told weeks ago that a recent infection did not meet the criteria for exemption, even though a government task force that provides advice on these matters had recommended that an infection during the last six months should be enough to qualify.

(Reporting by Courtney Walsh and Cordelia Hsu; writing by Jane Wardell and Andrew Cawthorne; editing by Stephen Coates, William Mallard and Alison Williams)

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