Djokovic in Australian Open draw despite visa uncertainty

At least Novak Djokovic is aware of who he’ll face in the primary spherical of his Australian Open title protection — if he’s allowed to play

MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic now is aware of he’ll face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the primary spherical of his Australian Open title protection, if he’s allowed to play.

Djokovic’s visa standing dominated consideration till the second the draw was performed Thursday, after a postponement of 75 minutes, to find out the brackets for the boys’s and ladies’s singles attracts on the first main tennis event of 2022.

He was nonetheless in limbo after it.

Top-ranked Djokovic had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne final week when his vaccination exemption was rejected, however he received a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to remain in the nation.

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Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has been contemplating the query since a decide reinstated Djokovic’s visa final Monday. The event begins subsequent Monday.

If he’s allowed to remain, Djokovic’s bid for a males’s document twenty first main title might imply a quarterfinal towards No. 7-ranked Matteo Berrettini and probably a semifinal towards Rafael Nadal or third-seeded Alexander Zverev.

He is tied with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles, lacking an opportunity for the all-time document when he misplaced the U.S. Open ultimate to Daniil Medvedev final 12 months.

Medvedev, who additionally ended Djokovic’s run at a calendar-year Grand Slam with that win in New York, is on the alternative finish of the draw because the No. 2 seed in Australia. A finalist right here final 12 months, he might meet native favourite Nick Kyrgios in the second spherical, and in addition No. 5 Andrey Rublev, No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime, John Isner in his quarter of the draw. He’s seeded to satisfy No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis.

On the ladies’s facet, top-ranked Ash Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka ended up in the identical part of the draw, which means two of the most effective gamers in the event might meet in a fourth-round match that would have the sensation of a ultimate.

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After that, No. 5 Maria Sakkari or No. 9 Ons Jabeur may very well be ready in the quarterfinals.

Osaka, who has been ranked as excessive as No. 1, slid down the record due to her lack of matches in 2021 and is seeded thirteenth.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova and No. 8 Paula Badosa are in the identical half of the draw, together with 2020 champion Sofia Kenin, who has a troublesome opener towards fellow American Madison Keys and will meet No. 18 Coco Gauff in the third spherical.

In the opposite half of the draw, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka has a first-round assembly towards wild-card entry Storm Sanders and is seeded to WTA Finals winner Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.

Muguruza is in similar quarter as U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, who opens towards 2017 U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens, and three-time main winner Simona Halep.

The draw ceremony was delayed amid uncertainty over Djokovic’s visa standing.

It was was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. native time, however a event official informed ready media that the ceremony had been delayed till additional discover and declined remark. It finally started round 4:15 p.m. native time.

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Tournament director Craig Tiley declined to reply questions about Djokovic after the draw.

According to the 2022 Grand Slam Rule Book, if Djokovic is compelled to tug out of the event earlier than the order of play for Day 1 is introduced, No. 5 seed Rublev would transfer into Djokovic’s spot in the bracket.

If Djokovic withdraws from the event after Monday’s schedule is launched, he would get replaced in the sphere by what’s referred to as a “fortunate loser” — a participant who loses in the qualifying event however will get into the principle draw due to one other participant’s exit earlier than competitors has started.

And if Djokovic performs in a match — or extra — after which is informed he can not take part in the event, his subsequent opponent would merely advance to the next spherical and there could be no substitute.

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