Melbourne — Novak Djokovic was granted a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open as he had recently recovered from Covid, documents published on Saturday by Australia’s Federal Circuit Court show.


The development comes as the tennis World No. 1 is confined to a temporary detention facility in Melbourne as he mounts a desperate legal challenge against the cancellation of his visa ahead of the tournament.


“Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 December 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia recording that he had been provided with a ‘Medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID,” the document said.


Djokovic’s first Covid-positive PCR test was recorded on December 16, 2021, and after not showing signs of a fever or “respiratory symptoms” he later applied for a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open, according to the court filing.


In a letter dated December 7, which was leaked to journalists Friday and cannot be independently verified by CNN, it appears tournament organizers wrongly informed unvaccinated players they could enter Australia to take part in the grand slam.


The letter advises that a confirmed Covid-19 infection in the last six months along with an accompanying letter from a doctor or public health authority would be considered as valid documentation for a medical exemption. Players were urged to submit their applications no later than December 10, the document states.


The guidance appears to contradict advice in a widely reported letter sent by Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt to tournament director Craig Tiley in November stressing that a Covid-19 infection in the past six months did not meet the requirements for quarantine-free entry.






Renata Voracova from the Czech Republic was detained by Australian authorities and her visa has been revoked. Voracova had cleared health protocols and already played her first match. Now, she’s been kidnapped and placed in an Australian ‘detention facility’ with only her cellphone.


Prior to the tournament, Tennis Australia had sent out an information sheet informing players of a process to follow so they could play in the Australian Open without being vaccinated


The Victorian Health Department and a Tennis Australia expert panel granted exemptions to the trio because the panels believed a prior infection warranted an exemption.


However, the federal government informed Tennis Australia in November it would not allow international arrivals to bypass vaccine requirements on this basis.


Tennis Australia believes there was a grey area in regard to whether the exemption reason was valid.


Voracova’s potential deportation raises a question about why she was let into the country in the first place if the federal government believed a prior infection was not a valid exemption.


Meanwhile, Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic, who is on an official visit to the United States, said during a visit to the Serbian community in Chicago during Orthodox Christmas he would do everything to help Novak Djokovic.


“The thing we should all know and keep in mind, you see how great jealousy is when someone is the best, when they are the best in sporting history, while being a Serb. On one hand, there are so many barriers to remaining in that spot and on the other, he [Djokovic] is so firm and does not give up. Serbia is as firm as he is and we will fight to help him,” Selakovic said, according to Serbian media reports.


On Thursday, Australian ambassador to Serbia Daniel Emery was hauled into the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs by its secretary Nemanja Starovic as Serbia protested against Djokovic’s detention in an immigration hotel.






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