Melbourne, Jan 12 (IANS) The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) — the principal organising body of women’s professional tennis in the world — has termed as “unfortunate” the Australian government’s decision to deport Czech player Renata Voracova even after she followed necessary procedures to remain in the country for the Australian Open beginning January 17.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) had cancelled the visa of Voracova on January 6. The 38-year-old Voracova, who has already played in a warm-up tournament in Melbourne, has been detained in the same immigration hotel as Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
She is believed to have entered Australia last month with a vaccine exemption granted by Tennis Australia because she had recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.
The WTA said in a statement on Wednesday that Voracova had followed all the “rules and procedures” and still she was asked to leave the country.
“The WTA is supportive and appreciative of all the efforts put forth by Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia to host the Summer of Tennis under conditions that continue to be challenging for all. The WTA believes that all players should be vaccinated and is in full support of the immigration policies that have been put in place as the protection of the Australian communities in which we compete is critical.
“That being said, the complications experienced over the past few days where athletes have followed the approved and authorised process of receiving a medical exemption for entry into the country are unfortunate. Renata Voracova followed these rules and procedures, was cleared for entry upon her arrival, competed in an event and then suddenly had her visa cancelled when she had done nothing wrong. We will continue to work with all authorities on addressing this unfortunate situation in an appropriate manner,” said the WTA.
The Czech diplomats in Australia had also lodged a formal protest with Australian authorities.
The Australian government had said while deporting Voracova that a recent infection with the COVID-19 virus does not mean a foreign national can enter the country without being fully vaccinated.