After a delay the draw for the Australian Open is released

The draw was delayed by over an hour amid uncertainty of top-ranked Novak Djokovic’s playing status

Australian Open tournament referee Wayne McKewen and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley hold the men's draw for the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022. Mark Baker/Pool via REUTERS
Australian Open tournament referee Wayne McKewen and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley hold the men's draw for the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022. Mark Baker/Pool via REUTERS

Novak Djokovic doesn’t know if he will be allowed to play in the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, but he does know who his first opponent will be.

The defending champion drew fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the Australian Open, scheduled to begin January 17.

Whether that match will ever happen is still up in the air, as Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still deciding whether to deport Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic initially had his visa cancelled upon arriving at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport last week when his vaccination exemption was denied. A judge allowed Djokovic to remain in the country, and reinstated his visa on Monday.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022.  REUTERS/Loren Elliott      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Hawke still has the power to deport Djokovic and cancel his visa for a second time, as inconsistencies in his case continue. A decision could come by Friday.

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion, and is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for 20 Grand Slam titles, the most among male tennis players.




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