Australian Open: Novak Djokovic in draw despite visa dispute

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Novak Djokovic included in delayed Australian Open draw as visa call wait continues

Highlights

  • Djokovic wins legal battle and has his visa reinstated
  • Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is considering revoking the visa by exercising his personal authority against the court’s decision

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic was drawn into Thursday’s Australian Open draw, although he still awaits a government decision on whether he will be expelled or get a chance to play as he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Despite this camaraderie, the Australian Open organizers have kept him in a draw. He has to play world number 78 Miyomir Kesmanovich of Serbia in the first round.

Djokovic’s visa was revoked upon arrival in Melbourne last week because he did not meet the criteria required for medical exemption in the Corona Vaccination Rules. He later won the legal battle and his visa was reinstated. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is considering revoking the visa by exercising his personal authority against the court’s decision.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called a press conference after the national cabinet meeting, which looks like a decision. Speculation intensified when the draw for the year’s first Grand Slam was postponed by 75 minutes. The draws for the women’s and men’s categories were to be held at 3 pm local time, but the tournament official said it has been postponed until further notice.

Australian Open starts on Monday. “This is the prerogative of the minister of immigration and I do not wish to comment further on this at this time,” Morrison said after the meeting on Djokovic’s case.

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Australia Open tournament director Craig Tilly also declined to comment after the draw. Meanwhile, Djokovic has continued to practice at the Rod Laver Arena after coming out of the quarantine hotel. He acknowledged in a statement on social media on Wednesday that his Australian travel detail form had been misinformed. Giving wrong information in the form can also lead to their removal. If this happens, he will not be able to come to Australia for the next three years. It will be a setback for him as he has won nine of his 20 Grand Slams.

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