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Explained: Status of the 2 other applicants granted Australia visa on the same health exemption as Novak Djokovic

Two more applicants were granted visa to Australia based on the same health exemption as Novak Djokovic
Two more applicants were granted visa to Australia based on the same health exemption as Novak Djokovic
Shyam Kamal
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Journalist Sasa Ozmo, who works for Sport Klub Serbia, recently reported that a total of nine people were granted visas to Australia based on the same medical exemption as Novak Djokovic.

Two of the nine have been confirmed to be players -- Djokovic and Czech doubles player Renata Voracova. According to Ozmo, one person was a coach, while the remaining six were event organizers or media persons.

Per my sources, there were nine people in connection with the #AusOpen who were granted a medical exemption, but only three fall in the players/coaches category: #Djokovic, Voracova and the guy you will soon read an interview with.

Voracova was allowed into the country and played a match at the Melbourne Summer Set. However, after the Serb's case blew up, she was detained by immigration authorities and eventually deported from Australia.

Unlike Djokovic, Voracova decided not to appeal the matter. The Czech agreed that she was "collateral damage", and expressed hope that the Serb would win his legal battle.

Meanwhile, Ozmo tracked down the coach who entered Australia with a medical exemption. The person in question is Filip Serdarusic, who is the brother and coach of World No. 246 Nino Serdarusic.

Filip Serdarusic entered Australia three days before Novak Djokovic

Filip Serdarusic is the brother and coach of Nino Serdarusic (third from the left)
Filip Serdarusic is the brother and coach of Nino Serdarusic (third from the left)

The Croat reportedly entered Australia three days before Djokovic and although he was initially told he had to quarantine for 14 days, he was later allowed to move freely.

Serdarusic revealed that he was not vaccinated but had recently contracted the COVID-19 infection. He applied for the same medical exemption as the 20-time Grand Slam champion, and received his visa.

"I had prepared my positive PCR test and my antibodies findings, which were then sent to Tennis Australia by my agent," Serdarusic said. "I got the green light, I think I received an email somewhere around the 10th of December."

Serdarusic disclosed that, similar to Voracova, immigration authorities contacted him on the day Djokovic arrived. He was told that his exemption was not valid and that he would have to leave the country or reapply for another visa.

Just like Voracova, the Croat remarked that he did not have the resources to fight the legal battle. He felt the Australian government "came after the rest of us" after they had detained Djokovic, who was their intended target.

"The day Novak Djokovic landed, I got a call from the immigration center at 10pm telling me that I needed to come for an interview tomorrow," he said. “I am not as big as Novak, I don’t have the resources to fight it. If they stopped him, I guess they had to come for the rest of us as well.”

Serdarusic, who is back in Belgrade, also accused the Australian government of using Djokovic as a political pawn.

"Neither Novak nor I invented the idea of a medical exemption – we did everything by their rules and we were granted a visa. The thing is, nobody can get politically stronger using my name, but Djokovic is such a high-profile player – that is why all of this is happening. Novak seems like an ideal target before the elections."

As things stand, Djokovic is in detention ahead of his hearing on Sunday. If the Serb does not win in court, he will not be allowed to defend his title at the Australian Open. He will also be deported and potentially banned from entering the country for three years.


Also check out: Updated ATP Men's Tennis Rankings


Edited by Arvind Sriram

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