Australian Open: Tennis Australia denies misleading players

Tennis Australia denies that it knowingly misled players who were applying for medical exemption

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Craig Tiley (left) with Novak Djokovic

Tennis Australia has denied that they knowingly misled players applying for medical exemption for the Australian Open.

The Australian media, on Friday, reported that the Australian Open organisers had failed to convey a major detail to the Victorian government, who was reviewing the medical exemptions.

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The Australian health department had told Tennis Australia that prior Covid-19 infections could not be used by players to acquire a medical exemption for a Grand Slam. It is most likely the reason Novak Djokovic had used to get the exemption.

But Tennis Australia did not tell the Victorian government of the development. Which is why even though Djokovic got a medical exemption, his visa was cancelled by the Australian Border Force and he is in immigration detention.

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“We reject completely that the playing group was knowingly misled,” Tennis Australia said in a brief statement on Friday night.

“Informing players they could get into the country on a medical exemption was taken from the Smart Traveller website that Greg Hunt directly referred us to.”

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Djokovic is still in the Park Hotel in Melbourne. He has challenged the visa cancellation and a court will hear his appeal on Monday.

Further details have also emerged about Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley’s interactions with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi) about exemptions for players either recently infected with Covid or who had only received one dose.

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The Age reported that Tiley had told Atagi the treatment of such players “goes to the heart of the viability of the Australian Open”.

After Djokovic, two more players were detained by the Border Force. One of them, veteran Czech player Renata Voracova, has been in Australia since December and even played a WTA event in Melbourne.

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