July 6, 2022

After a delay in the Australian Open draw, Novak Djokovic opens the Championship against fellow Serbian Miomir Kekmanovic

Melbourne, Australia – Novak Djokovic It is now known that he will face fellow Serbs Myomir Kekmanovic In the first round of his Australian Open title defense, if he is allowed to play.

Djokovic’s visa status was the focus of attention until Thursday’s draw to determine the brackets for the men’s and women’s singles at the first major tennis tournament of 2022.

And after that.

The Australian Immigration Minister is still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defensive Australian Open champion who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Thus Djokovic is constantly confused.

Djokovic’s visa was revoked when he arrived in Melbourne last week, and his vaccine exemption was called into question, but he won a legal battle over the practice of allowing him to stay in the country.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawk has been considering the matter since the judge reissued Djokovic’s visa on Monday.

Expectations of a pending decision were raised on Thursday when Prime Minister Scott Morrison called an afternoon press conference after the national cabinet meeting. Speculation increased when the match draw was postponed 75 minutes after Morrison’s press conference.

But the wait continued after both events ended, with Morrison referring questions about Djokovic to his immigration minister.

“These are personal ministerial powers that can be exercised by Minister Hawke and I do not propose to make any comment at this time,” Morrison said.

Craig Daily, director of the Australian Open, also declined to comment after the draw.

Djokovic, 34, tried to focus his attention on the playground four days after he was released from immigration custody. He held a training session at the Rod Lever Arena, the fourth this week, at noon.

If he is allowed to stay, his bid for the men’s record 21st title will begin against the 78th-ranked Kekmanovic. Matteo Bertini And may be against a semifinal Rafael Nadal Or tertiary Alexander Sverrev, Who are both on the bottom side of his half of the draw.

On the women’s side, first place Ash Party And current champion Naomi Osaka The draw ended in the same category, meaning that the two best players of the tournament could meet in the fourth round, which has the feel of a final.

Osaka, which is ranked No. 1 in the world due to a lack of competition in 2021, is currently ranked No. 13 behind.

The draw was delayed due to uncertainty over Djokovic’s visa status. It was scheduled to take place in Melbourne at 3pm local time, but one of the competition officials told the waiting media that the ceremony had been postponed until further notice and declined to comment further. It was later changed to 4:15 pm local time.

The Australian Open starts on Monday. Djokovic traveled to Australia to win his 21st Grand Slam title, breaking the 20 Grand Slam titles he shared. Roger Federer And Natal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.