Novak Djokovic's Visa Fiasco To Go On Until Monday As Tennis Australia Faces Scrutiny Over It's Management Of Case - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic’s Visa Fiasco To Go On Until Monday As Tennis Australia Faces Scrutiny Over It’s Management Of Case

It is a situation which has never occurred before in the world of tennis but could it have been avoided if officials followed the advice given to them last year?

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As Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Participation hangs in the balance, tournament officials are feeling the heat.

On Wednesday the world No.1 was denied entry into Australia after having his visa revoked. The Australian border (ABF) force said their decision was made because the Serbian ‘failed to provide the appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements.’ According to one source, Djokovic’s paperwork upon arrival in the country was ‘minimal’ and supported by evidence from just one doctor instead of the usual three required. Meaning, he didn’t provide enough proof to justify that he didn’t need to have a vaccine.

It is understood that Djokovic applied for a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open on the grounds that he has had covid-19 over the past six months which has deferred him from having a vaccine. This was approved by two independent panels of medical experts which allowed him to play at the Australian Open. This year’s tournament has said all participants must be fully vaccinated unless they are exempt in line with a local government health mandate.

However, the grounds for granting Djokovic a pass in the first place appears to be in question and so is the credibility of Tennis Australia’s medical exemption process. Just hours after Djokovic was told his visa had been rejected, NCA NewsWire obtained a letter sent from health minister Greg Hunt to Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley. The letter, which was dated November 29th, stated that players who had tested positive for COVID-19 over the past six months are not deemed fully vaccinated and therefore not allowed into the country.

“The Australian Border Force has advised that people must be fully vaccinated, as defined by ATAGI (the national advisory body on vaccines) to gain quarantine-free entry into Australia,” Mr Hunt wrote.
“In relation to your specific questions, I can confirm that people who contracted Covid-19 within the past six months and seek to enter Australia from overseas, and have not received two doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved or recognised vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated.”

Should this be the case, it is unclear as to why Tennis Australia didn’t factor this in. If they did, why were the independent medical panels still authorised to give such decisions? It is understood that communication was sent to players following Hunt’s letter but they were not told about the vaccine requirement.

As part of their counter argument, Tennis Australia is said to have claimed that other players who have contracted COVID-19 over the past six months have been allowed into the country. It has now been confirmed that at least one player and one official is under investigation by the ABF.

“I’m aware of those allegations, and I can assure you that the Australian Border Force is investigating that now,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told 2GB. “ABF needs the opportunity to be able to conduct its investigation. But if the evidence is not there, then they will take the appropriate action.”

The Age reports that those unnamed individuals have more than one doctor to back up their evidence and appears to have more substance to their grounds for a visa than Djokovic.

Andrews also said in a separate statement that the government has a right to deny anybody entry into the country regardless of if they have been granted a medical exemption or not.

“While the Victorian Government and Tennis Australia may permit a non-vaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth Government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border,” she said.

Meanwhile, one source from Tennis Australia claims that the decision to refuse Djokovic entry is politically driven. Insinuating that officials didn’t want to let him into the country as it would have given them a bad image.

I don’t know how the feds will (address the fact that) several tennis players are already in the country with the same exemption granted to Novak,” the source told The Age.
“This looks to us like the feds are responding to the media by letting some players in but not the world No.1.”

As for Djokovic, his legal team has filed an appeal to the Victorian court against the decision to deport him. The court has adjourned his legal case until Monday which means the tennis star will be able to stay in the country until then at least.

Tennis Australia is still yet to issue an official statement concerning Djokovic. The Australian Open will begin on January 17th.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Sebastian Ofner in Barcelona to extend his winning streak

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Ofner 6-4 7-5 at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to extend his winning streak to seven consecutive matches after claiming his third title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week. 

Tsitsipas earned an immediate break in the first game. Ofner broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Tsitsipas earned his second break  in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and served out the first set 6-4 with a hold at 15. 

Tsitsipas broke in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner won three consecutive games with two breaks of serve to take a 5-3 lead. Tsitsipas came back by winning four consecutive games with two breaks of serve to seal the second set 7-5.

Tsitsipas has a record of 17 wins to 5 defeats in Barcelona. The Greek player reached three finals at this tournament in 2018, 2021 and 2023.  

“I feel pretty good, but it is still early in the tournament. The conditions here are very different to Monte-Carlo and I felt it today when I was playing. My job is to adapt and to ensure I can bring my A game again in Barcelona this week. Today was a great test to see where I stand. I am hoping to keep on improving and getting good wins like this under my belt”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitssipas set up a third round match against Roberto Carballes Baena, who beat Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Musetti saved three break points in the first game of the opening set. The Italian player earned two break points with a backhand down the line. Musetti saved two break points in the seventh game. Both players went on serve un the 12th game when Carballes Baena saved a set point. Carballes Baena went up a 5-1 lead with two mini-breaks in the tie-break. Musetti won three consecutive points to reduce to 4-5. Carballes Baena won the final two points to take the tie-break 7-4. 

Carballes Baena converted his fourth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Musetti broke back in the fifth game. Carballes Baena saved a break point in the sixth game. The Spanish player sealed the win with a break on his second match. 

Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Casper Ruud beat Alexandre Muller 6-3 6-4 to claim his 25th tour-level win of the season. Ruud has drawn level with Jannik Sinner for the most wins in 2024 on the ATP Tour. 

Ruud set up a third round match against Jordan Thompson, who beat Jaume Munar 6-4 2-4 6-4. Roberto Bautista Agut beat Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-4 6-1 to claim his milestone 400th match win on the ATP Tour. Bautista Agut set up a third round match against Cameron Norrie. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut wins his milestone 400th match on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut came back from one set down to beat Australian Open doubles finalist Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-3 6-1 after 2 hours and 1 minute at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. 

Vavassori earned an early break in the first game. The Italian player earned three break points in the seventh game, but Bautista Agut saved them. The Spanish player broke straight back in the eighth game. Vavassori broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and saved two break points before closing out the first set 6-4 on his second set point. 

Both players went on serve in the first four games of the second set. Vavassori earned a break point in the fifth game, but he did not convert it. Bautista Agut broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face any break points to win the second set 6-3. 

Bautista Agut broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1. 

Bautista Agut reached the 400th milestone win on the ATP Tour.  The Spanish player has become the 13th active player with at least 400 ATP Tour wins. He achieved 20 wins against members of the top 10, ten wins against top 5 players and four against world number 1s. Bautista Agut is one of the nine players, who have beaten Novak Djokovic as World number 1 more than twice. 

“For me it’s just a number. The important thing is that I have done great work over these years, that I have a very consistent career, a career that I can feel proud of “, said Bautista Agut. 

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Martina Trevisan beats Naomi Osaka to reach the second round in Rouen

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Martina Trevisan upset former world number 1 Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-2 in the opening round of the Open Capfinances Rouen Metropole. 

Osaka has played her first clay-court match since Roland Garros 2022, where she lost to Amanda Anisimova. The Japanese player has not won a match on clay since beating Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the Madrid Mutua Open in 2022. She helped Japan beat Kazakhstan in the Billie Jean King Cup. 

Trevisan reached the quarter final in 2020 and the semifinal in 2022 at Roland Garros. The former world number 18 won her only title in Rabat in 2022. She reached the quarter finals of the Zaragoza ITF 100 tournament. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games. Osaka earned two break points at 3-2 and three more chances at 4-3, but she was not able to convert them. Trevisan broke serve in the ninth game following a series of forehand errors. 

Trevisan broke twice in the third and seventh games and served out the win on her first match point. 

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva beat Elina Avanesyan 7-5 6-4 in 1 hour and 41 minutes to reach her second quarter final of 2024. 

Andreeva went up a break in the seventh game, but Avanesyan pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the second time in the 11th game to win the second set 7-5. Andreeva broke in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Avanesyan converted her third break-back point in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Andreeva broke serve at love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Avanesyan broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the third time in the ninth game and served out the win on her second match point after saving two break points. 

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