World News

Italian Tennis Player Denies Using Fake Vaccine Passport to Enter Australian Open

Italy’s Camila Giorgi has denied allegations that she used a fake vaccine passport to gain access to the Australian Open last year.

The controversy emerged as Italian doctor Daniela Grillone undergoes an investigation from authorities for providing fake vaccination certificates.

Grillone identified tennis player Giorgi as a patient and claimed she had never received the jab.

In response, the women’s world number 66 said, “I did just one vaccination with her, and the other ones I did with other doctors.”

“She’s in trouble with the law in Italy,” she told reporters in Melbourne Park on Jan. 17.

“I did everything that they ask, the Australian government,” she said. “Each year, we are fine with that.

“Of course. I did all vaccination, yes.”

Her father, Sergio, also became irritated at the line of questioning and signalled to the moderator for journalists to ask about the match instead.

Giorgi defeated her second-round opponent Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 6-1.

Vaccine Mandates Dog Australian Tournament

The issue of vaccine mandates has hovered over the tournament after nine-time champion Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia last year after revealing he had not been vaccinated.

Djokovic left Australia on Jan. 16 after his appeal to challenge the former government’s decision to revoke his visa on COVID-related grounds was dismissed. Djokovic was banned from returning to the country for three years.

The decision received significant support from the Australian public.

Alex Hawke, the immigration minister at the time, conceded Djokovic posed a “negligible” risk of spreading COVID.

But he argued Djokovic’s ongoing presence could “stoke anti-vaccination sentiment” that would potentially lead to an “increase in the civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission.”

In response, Djokovic’s lawyers argued that Hawke had provided no evidence that would suggest the tennis champion’s presence would have such an effect on the Australian public.

“Cancelling Mr. Djokovic’s visa and deporting him would plainly be adverse to the public interest and, respectfully, could only serve political interest,” they said.

“That action would prejudice Australian economic interests and jeopardise the viability of Australia continuing to host this prestigious, international sporting event.

“[It would] call into question Australia’s border security principles and policies—and indeed the rule of law in Australia generally.”

Despite the ordeal, Djokovic later told a news conference in June that he didn’t hold any grudges and wanted to play in Australia again if given the chance.

In November, the government announced the ban had been overturned, opening the door for the former world number one men’s player to return.

Rebecca Zhu contributed to this article.

Daniel Y. Teng

Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at

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