Italian tennis pro Camila Giorgi is denying accusations that she used falsified COVID-19 vaccine documents last year, claiming she only received one dose of the vaccine from a doctor now being investigated by authorities for supplying false certificates and fake vaccines.
Giorgi, 31, fielded several questions about the allegations during a press conference following her victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.
“The doctor is being investigated, she had trouble in this [past] year with the law – a few times,” Giorgi said. “I did all my vaccinations in different places so the trouble is with her, not me.”
She continued: “And with that I’m very calm and of course if not I could not come here and play this tennis.”
Australia no longer requires travelers entering the country to provide proof of vaccination but did so during last year’s Grand Slam – a situation that saw 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic deported from the country because of his vaccine status and the specific visa he used to enter Australia.
Giorgi competed last year, advancing all the way to the third round before losing to eventual champion Ash Barty.
She was repeatedly asked during Tuesday’s presser if she ever lied on any documents or used false documents to gain entry into Australia for last year’s tournament. Giorgi remained adamant that she complied with protocol to be able to compete and added that she received other doses of the vaccine from other doctors.
According to Reuters, Dr. Daniela Grillone was charged last year and is now being investigated by Italian authorities for supplying false certificates and fake vaccines. Giorgi was one of the names implicated by Italian media.
“There is more than 300 people who’s [names she supplied,]” Giorgi said Tuesday. She also denied the allegation that she sought out Grillone specifically for a document falsifying her vaccination.
Ahead of the tournament, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said he was not fully aware of the fake certificate claims.
“I think there’s still a lot to be uncovered on that and I think that’s going to be ultimately up to their family and the relevant authorities, including the tour,” he said. “I don’t really know any further detail.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.