Novak Djokovic: Second player has visa cancelled over vaccine exemption

Renata Voracova was reportedly detained by the Australian Border Force on Thursday

Tom Kershaw
Friday 07 January 2022 12:07 GMT
Novak Djokovic being kept in Australia as a ‘prisoner’ says his mother

Doubles player Renata Voracova has become the second Australian Open hopeful to have their visa cancelled and is now reportedly being held in the same quarantine hotel as Novak Djokovic.

Voracova, who had already competed in a warm-up event in Melbourne, is said to have obtained a vaccine exemption on the basis that she had been infected with Covid-19 in the past six months - the same reason used by Djokovic.

The 38-year-old was detained by Australian Border Force (ABF) officials on Thursday and taken to the same Park Hotel in Carlton where Djokovic is being held, according to ABC News.

Djokovic will remain at the facility, which his parents have likened to a “dirty prison” with “terrible food” and “bugs”, until Monday when his appeal against the ABF’s decision to cancel his visa is heard.

It remains unclear as of yet whether Voracova, who was born in the Czech Republic, will also appeal or if she will be deported. The ABF are also reportedly looking for a third player who entered the country with an exemption.

Australia’s home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, had already confirmed on Thursday that the ABF was investigating other players following Djokovic’s high-profile detainment.

“I’m aware of those allegations, and I can assure you that the Australian Border Force is investigating that now,” she told 2GB.

Although the majority of Australians were furious that Djokovic had been granted entry to the country, despite failing to disclose his vaccination status, there have also been accusations that the government are now using his case for political gain.

Protestors gather outside the Park Hotel in Melbourne
Protestors gather outside the Park Hotel in Melbourne ( The Associated Press)

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, had previously said Djokovic’s entry was a matter for the Victorian government and Tennis Australia before intervening after the public’s fierce reaction.

Djokovic had flown to Australia under the assumption that he had been cleared to compete at the tournament under a “medical exemption”.

If he fails to win his legal case, which will be heard at around 11pm GMT on Sunday, the nine-time Australian Open champion could face up to a three-year ban from the country.

Australian player Nick Kyrgios, who has clashed publicly with Djokovic over his views on multiple occasions, moved to defend the Serbian on Thursday, saying: “This is one of our great champions. At the end of the day, he is human. Do better.”

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