Novak Djokovic included in Australian Open draw as top seed despite ongoing visa uncertainty

Novak Djokovic of Serbia looks on during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park

Novak Djokovic has been included as the top seed in the Australian Open’s official draw on Thursday even as a furore over the world no 1’s vaccine status ahead of the major tennis tournament continued.

It remains uncertain whether the player’s visa will be cancelled for a second time, as Australia’s top immigration officer is weighing the option of exercising discretionary powers amid over concerns Djokovic’s behaviour when it comes to Covid-19 safety protocols and the vaccine.

Djokovic, who was out practising in the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday after a judge ruled in his favour in the case and ordered his immediate release from an immigration detention facility, is now expected to play on Monday or Tuesday for his opening match.

He has been drawn again unseeded player Miomir Kecmanovic, a fellow Serbian national.

The official draw was delayed for more than an hour by the organiser Tennis Australia without any reason being provided.

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Just 24 hours earlier, Djokovic had admitted to attending an interview with a French journalist while he was positive for Covid in December, calling it an “error of judgement” in his statement.

The player was forced to reveal his Covid diagnosis as it formed the basis of his application to be exempted from Australia’s rules requiring those entering the country to be vaccinated.

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