Australian Open: Voracova leaves after visa issues

Voracova joined Novak Djokovic in Australian immigration detention on Thursday, despite already having been allowed into the country and playing in a match before having her visa cancelled.

Renata Voracova

FILE PHOTO: Czech Republic's Renata Voracova in action.   -  Reuters

Czech tennis player Renata Voracova left Australia on Saturday, the Czech Foreign Ministry said, after complications with visas that got her swept up in a furore over the handling of the country's COVID-19 vaccine exemptions.

Voracova joined men's number one Novak Djokovic in Australian immigration detention on Thursday, despite already having been allowed into the country and playing in a match before having her visa cancelled.

While Djokovic has challenged his visa cancellation, Voracova, a 38-year-old doubles specialist, decided to leave, telling Czech news site idnes.cz she would not challenge because of the time it would take to wait and not train ahead of the Australian Open later this month.

"(Renata) Voracova left Australia on Saturday based on her own decision to end her participation in the tournament due to complications with her visas," the Czech ministry said.

"The decision was not based on her expulsion from the country," it said.

The ministry added it was waiting for a response from Australian authorities to a diplomatic note sent on Friday.

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Voracova was unvaccinated but had an exemption after becoming ill with COVID-19 before Christmas, around the time she had planned to get vaccinated following last season's end, she told idnes.cz.

She had entered the country and played in Melbourne earlier this week ahead of the Australian Open but was then detained in the same hotel as Djokovic.

ABC News reported Voracova departed to Dubai.

Djokovic said in a legal challenge on Saturday to being refused entry to Australia that he had been given medical exemption from vaccination because he had contracted COVID-19 last month.

Australia's government has released a letter showing it wrote to Tennis Australia, the local organising body, in November saying that prior infection with COVID-19 was not necessarily grounds for exemption in Australia.

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