MELBOURNE, Australia – Earlier this week, when the news first broke about Novak Djokovic’s entry visa being revoked, there were reports that the Australian Border Force was looking into a couple of other examples of tennis visitors who might be in a similar situation.
That story turned out to have legs, it appears.
The ABC network is reporting Friday night (Melbourne time) that veteran Czech doubles specialist Renata Voracova is in the same boat.
Voracova, 38, entered the country before the beginning of 2022, on a vaccine exemption pursuant to her having had, and recovered from, the coronavirus.
Here’s the story, which appears as though it will be updated with further information as available.
The Age is reporting that a third person – a tennis official – is also a person of interest with the same profile: a vaccine exemption because of a recent bout with COVID.
The difference is that Voracova got through the border controls.
In fact, Open Court spotted her yesterday.
Voracova already in competition
Voracova played with Katarzyna Piter of Poland in the “Melbourne Summer Set 2” event at Melbourne Park.
The pair lost their first-round doubles match Wednesday to Lesley Kerkhova and Arina Rodionova.
Now, per the story, she has had her visa cancelled and is at the Park Hotel, where Djokovic is remanded this weekend until the appeal of the cancellation of his own visa is to be heard Monday.
Voracova, who reached a career high of No. 74 in singles back in 2010, has played almost nothing but doubles in recent years with various partners. he is one of the true foot soldiers of the WTA Tour.
She’s currently ranked No. 81, after being as high as No. 29 in 2017. She has 11 career doubles titles.
She made her pro debut back in 2000. So this is her 23rd professional season.
Career prize money of about $1.8 million, spread out over that many years, and as many tournaments as she plays, will not have created a huge nest egg with which to fight the deportation.
She played … 32 tournaments in 2021.
So it would be a significant blow. Because not only can Voracova not play next week, she would also miss the Australian Open if she can’t stay in the country. The Czech has played in Melbourne some 15 times in her career.
And you have to wonder if the authorities would have gone back through the tennis folk already through customs, to check if there were any other cases similar to Djokovic’s – had he not announced he had a medical exemption on his social media before leaving.
The nine-time champion shone a big, fat spotlight on himself and this issue with that decision (even the Australian prime minister remarked on it).
It would be a nice thing for him to do, to chip in for her legal representation. But it’s a moot point, as a spokesperson from the Czech State Department indicated Friday that she won’t be fighting it.
The consulate in Sydney is working with her to make arrangements to leave the country.
Every day, this saga gets a little messier.