Renata Voracova, the Czech tennis player who was deported from Australia after her visa was cancelled because of her COVID-19 vaccination status, has spoken of her frustration at seeing Novak Djokovic win his court battle to stay in the country.
Like Djokovic, doubles specialist Voracova was granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia to compete at the Australian Open after recovering from the disease late last year. She is understood not to have been vaccinated.
Renata Voracova said she was frustrated by the Novak Djokovic ruling after being advised not to fight her own deportation decision.Credit:Getty, AP
The 38-year-old had been kept in the same deportation centre as Djokovic before flying out of Melbourne last Saturday. She said she was questioned for six hours by border officials.
Voracova said she had “10 minutes to defend myself” during a “really tough” ordeal with limited legal counsel.
“I feel good for him, that he won [in] the court,” Voracova said of Djokovic on BBC Radio 5 Live. “[But] I feel a little bit frustrated for me, that the lawyers and my advisers who were there with me didn’t apply for court too, but I also understand because Novak hired his lawyers so he had to also pay for this. I think this was the main issue why I couldn’t go [to] court and apply for the same.”
Voracova had already played in a warm-up tournament in Melbourne and spent several days in the country before being questioned by Australian Border Force officials.
“They just came to my hotel,” Voracova said. “First they told me when they came to my room that they want[ed] just some explanation about my exemption, that it would take around an hour.”
But she was then told her exemption was not a valid reason to enter Australia. Border officials later confirmed she “voluntarily departed Australia following ABF inquiries”.
The Australian government has said recent infection is not a valid reason for foreigners to gain entry unless they are fully vaccinated.
The Telegraph, London
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