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Czech doubles specialist Voracova joins Djokovic in detention amid vaccine row

A second Australian Open participant has been placed into detention in a sweep by authorities on those who entered the country under the same vaccination exemption as the men’s world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

The Czech Republic foreign ministry confirmed that doubles specialist Renata Voracova, who had played in Melbourne earlier this week, has been asked to leave Australia after being detained by Border Force officials. They implied that other players had also been detained in the same Carlton hotel as Voracova and Djokovic but no details have emerged to corroborate this.

“We can confirm that Czech tennis player Renata Voracova is in the same detention as Djokovic, together with several other players,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We submitted through our embassy in Canberra a protest note and are asking for an explanation of the situation. However, Renata Voracova decided to drop out of the tournament due to limited possibilities for training and to leave Australia.”

The 38-year-old made her grand slam debut in doubles in 2002 in New York but has won only one match in 12 appearances at the highest level and is currently ranked 81.

Earlier on Thursday, the Australia home affairs Minister Karen Andrews had said authorities were reassessing the entrance documents of two people following the drama involving Djokovic.

Renata Voracova
The Czech Republic’s Renata Voracova had played a warm-up tournament in Melbourne this week after being allowed into Australia. Photograph: Reuters Staff/Reuters

In another development, the Herald Sun published an information sheet sent from Tennis Australia to players on 7 December 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 states at the bottom that the information was correct as of 6 December.

Tennis Australia appear to have questions to answer as the sheet contradicts the advice the Federal Government sent to TA in November, via a letter from the health minister Greg Hunt dated 29 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 has not commented publicly since the Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley, defended the exemption granted to Djokovic on Wednesday as the Serbian was on his way to Australia.

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