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Czech Tennis Player 'Really Sad' Over Detention in Australia

INTERNATIONAL: Czech tennis player Renata Voracova said on Monday she was "really sad" to have been placed in immigration detention alongside men's world number one Novak Djokovic, but she hoped he would be able to play in the Australian Open.

The 38-year-old had entered Australia on an exemption after recovering from COVID-19 last month and said she would not have imagined her detention could have taken place in the 21st-century.

Despite having already played in a tournament in Melbourne, she was detained last Thursday and placed in quarantine in the same hotel as Djokovic: "I cannot say that it's anger but I'm really sad that this happened, you know. If I imagine, I mean, it's one of the biggest tournaments, Grand Slam, I prepared and you go there and then these things happen. You can't even imagine that it's possible in 21st century to happen, you know, in these countries."

She said she was questioned for six hours about her visa, and afterwards "really didn't know" what she was supposed to do or whether it was possible to challenge the decision: "They kind of escort(ed) me from official hotel, because before I was playing a tournament, so, I was staying in an official hotel for tennis tournament, so they came actually to my hotel room during the day and they escort me to some place, like police place. So, it was really formal and I didn't expect this."

While the Serbian superstar won a court challenge on Monday allowing him to stay in Australia, Voracova left for home in the eastern Czech Republic on Saturday (January 8) without appealing her visa cancellation: "Well with me (it) was little bit different I think than in Novak's case, because I really didn't know after questioning what I (was) supposed to do, what are my rights, you know, and there was with me people from Tennis Australia, the lawyers, which were helping in this case, they didn't appeal for this, for court, so I didn't know actually that I could do it (appeal) or what are the possibilities, or how I do it. So, I just followed the advice they give me."

She said she could have applied for a new visa, which could have taken a week while in quarantine: "I had two possibilities to apply for another visa, which I would have to wait probably seven days, in this centre, or I could leave (for) home. So, I choose this option."

But the Czech tennis player has shown no signs for resentment, cheering for Novak’s freedom to play at the tournament: "Yeah, hopefully he (Djokovic) can play, because that's what we went there for, to play tennis and not to be part of any, you know, inside games."

Voracova, ranked 82 in doubles, made her grand slam singles debut in 2002 but has made a career in doubles, winning 11 titles and reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017.

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