Novak Djokovic has signed up against fellow Serbian Miomir Kekmanovic as uncertainty remains over whether he will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open.
It appears that a decision by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke may be imminent when the draw was postponed from 3pm (4am in the UK) at the last minute and without explanation.
But it was then announced that it would take place after 75 minutes, and Hawke is now not expected to make a decision until Friday.
Djokovic, who is looking to win his 10th Australian Open title and 21st championship, took his place at the top of the lottery.
If he is forced out of the tournament before the playing order is announced on Monday, the rankings will be changed, with fifth seed Andrei Rublev replacing Djokovic.
If it occurs after that time but before the first round match, he will be replaced by a lucky loser from qualifying.
Tournament director Craig Tilly attended the draw but did not respond to questions.
Asked about the matter at a news conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to comment on Hook’s decision but said: «Qualified fully vaccinated visa holders can travel to Australia without having to apply for a travel waiver and enter those states, which They are allowed.Entry Without quarantine, the individual must prove that they have been vaccinated twice or must provide acceptable evidence that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
«This is the policy that has not changed. We expect the authorities to implement the government’s policy when it comes to these matters.»
Djokovic trained as scheduled at Melbourne Park at lunchtime on Thursday, arriving with Argentine Federico Correa behind closed doors at the hot Rod Laver Arena.
He has been waiting since Monday to find out whether Hook will revoke his visa despite the Serb’s victory in his legal battle against the Australian border force.
Anger is growing over the positive Covid-19 test that Djokovic documents show he returned on December 16, and the Serbian admitted in a statement on Wednesday that he attended an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe two days later.
Djokovic said: “I felt compelled to go ahead and do an interview with L’Equipe because I didn’t want to give up on the journalist, but I made sure I was socially distancing and only wore a mask when my picture was taken.
“As I went home after the interview to isolate for the required duration, on reflection, this was a miscalculation and I agree that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”
Djokovic also admitted that there was an error in his travel authorization form when he did not disclose his travel from Serbia to Spain prior to his trip to Australia, which he attributed to his agent.
Spanish media have reported that Djokovic, who has a training base in Marbella, is now under investigation for entering the country without the correct visa for an unprotected person.
Elsewhere in the draw, Rafael Nadal was placed in the same game with Djokovic a potential semi-final opponent for the top seed, with third seed Alexander Zverev also in the first half.
Andy Murray’s return to Melbourne three years after the impact of what appeared to be his last appearance, will start his campaign against Georgian 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who he beat in the Sydney Classic on Wednesday.
There were tough draws between the British three-seeded, led by 17th seed Emma Radocano, who had her first Grand Slam match since winning the US Open against 2017 New York champion Sloane Stephens.
Cameron Norrie, seeded 12th after impressing in 2021, meets fast-rising American youngster Sebastian Korda while 24th seed Dan Evans meets former top 10 star David Goffin.
And participated Heather Watson with Egyptian Mayar Sherif, while there may be a strong confrontation in the fourth round between defending champion Naomi Osaka and world number one Ashleigh Barty.
Australian Open organizers, who have come under fire for their role in Djokovic’s fiasco, took another blow on Thursday when the Victorian government announced ticket sales for the tournament would be capped at 50% capacity.
No tickets will be canceled, though, which indicates sales have been slower than the Australian Tennis Club had hoped.
The board suffered a loss of A$100 million (about €63.5 million) at last year’s event due to significant additional costs involved in chartering planes and paying players to quarantine for two weeks coupled with reduced crowds, including a brief shutdown in the middle of the tournament.
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