Egypt’s Mayar Sherif is on the lookout for a new doubles partner for the upcoming Australian Open after learning that Renata Voracova, the player she was meant to team up with at Melbourne Park, has been detained at the same hotel as Novak Djokovic.
Sherif revealed to The National on Friday that she first discovered news of the Czech’s detention by chance, when she bumped into Katarzyna Piter, who had been Voracova’s doubles partner this week at a tournament in Melbourne.
Voracova, 38, later confirmed in a text message to Sherif that she had been detained after her visa was revoked by the Australian Border Force for failing to meet pandemic entry restrictions.
“I don’t know if you heard about AO [Australian Open] exemption cases. Unfortunately I’m the one and I’m not allowed to play AO by Australian borders” Voracova wrote in a text message to the Egyptian late on Friday.
"I’m really sorry, but this just happened overnight and they denied my visa, I could do nothing with it. Hope we can play somewhere else with better circumstances"
Voracova, who is unvaccinated, entered Australia with a medical exemption, and competed in the Melbourne 2 tournament this week, losing in the first round alongside Piter.
“My doubles partner was here, I saw her here onsite, but after what happened with Djokovic, she was taken to a hotel and she is detained there,” Sherif told The National.
“But she was already here and she played a tournament and trained and everything. I don’t know what the situation is at the moment. We are trying to find out.”
Sherif says she was approached by Piter to see if she was interested in teaming up for doubles at the January 17-30 Australian Open, given that Voracova faces a battle to remain in the country.
World No 63 Sherif said she was shocked to hear the news, and went to the WTA to get more information to see if she needed to start her search for a new partner.
“No one can believe what is happening right now,” Sherif said.
According to Sherif, Voracova is set to be deported soon.
Prior to travelling Down Under, players were sent an email by Tennis Australia detailing the process to obtain an overseas medical exemption certificate for those who are not fully vaccinated.
The email “contains an outline of valid reasons for temporary medical exemption, which now includes: Recent PCR-confirmed Covid-19 infection (after 31 July 2021), where vaccination can be deferred until six months after infection”.
Djokovic is being held at the Park Hotel in the Melbourne northern suburb Carlton until a decision will be made regarding his appeal on Monday.
The world No 1 and nine-time Australian Open champion travelled to Melbourne from Dubai on Wednesday, with a medical exemption certificate that was obtained through Tennis Australia and approved by the Victorian government, but was detained at Tullamarine Airport for nearly 10 hours after border officials barred his entry and cancelled his visa.