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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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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