Djokovic included in Australian Open draw as visa choice looms

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Delayed draw for the match consists of top-ranked males’s participant who may nonetheless have his visa cancelled for the second time.

The world’s top-ranked males’s tennis participant Novak Djokovic has been included within the Australian Open official draw though uncertainty stays about whether or not the federal government will cancel his visa for a second time.

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Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is weighing exercising his discretionary powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa over issues relating to the tennis participant’s medical exemption from Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination necessities.

The draw happened at 4:15pm Melbourne time (05:15 GMT) on Thursday.

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The unique draw was scheduled an hour and 15 minutes earlier however a number of minutes after it was supposed to start, an announcement was made that it had been postponed till additional discover.

Djokovic, who was out practising within the Rod Laver Arena earlier on Thursday, drew unseeded fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for his opening spherical match, anticipated to be performed on Monday or Tuesday.

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Rafael Nadal was positioned in the identical half, which means he may meet Djokovic within the semi-finals.

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Djokovic, a vaccine sceptic, prompted widespread anger in Australia final week when he introduced he was heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open with a medical exemption from necessities for guests to be inoculated towards COVID-19.

On his arrival, Australian Border Force officers determined his exemption was invalid and he was held alongside asylum-seekers at an immigration detention resort for a number of days.

On Monday, a court docket allowed him to remain on the grounds that officers had been “unreasonable” in the way in which they dealt with his interview in a seven-hour course of in the midst of the night time.

The Australian authorities, which has received sturdy help at home for its powerful stance on border safety earlier than and in the course of the pandemic, should now determine whether or not to let Djokovic stay and bid for a report 21st massive title.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to touch upon Djokovic’s visa on Thursday.

Djokovic’s trigger was not helped by a mistake in his entry declaration, the place the field stating he had not travelled overseas within the two weeks previous to leaving for Australia was ticked.

In reality, he had gone to Spain from Serbia. Djokovic, 34, attributed the error to his agent and acknowledged he additionally ought to have rescheduled an interview and photoshoot for a French newspaper on December whereas contaminated with COVID-19.

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Fans, together with many Serbian Australians, gave him noisy help when he was detained, folks towards vaccinations have hailed him as a hero and his household have portrayed him as a champion for particular person rights.

But Djokovic might face hostility from the group if and when he walks out on court docket.

There is widespread anger over the saga amongst Australians, who’ve a 90 % vaccination fee amongst adults and are battling a wave of the Omicron variant after enduring a number of the world’s longest lockdowns aimed toward curbing the pandemic.

“I don’t like his arrogance,” Teyhan Ismain, a Melbourne resident, stated on Wednesday. “It does seem that he’s been telling a few fibs too. So I think he should just probably go back.”

There might also be resentment within the dressing room, the place all however three of the highest 100 male gamers are inoculated.

Tennis nice Martina Navratilova advised Australian tv Djokovic ought to “suck it up” and return home.

“The bottom line is, sometimes your personal beliefs have to be trumped by what’s good for the greater good, for those around you, for your peers,” she advised Seven’s Sunrise programme. “You have two choices, get vaccinated or just don’t go play.”

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