World No. 1 male tennis player Novak Djokovic continues to make headlines regarding his playing status for the Australian Open 2022, a Grand Slam tournament he has won nine times.
Djokovic has been outspoken about his thoughts against the COVID-19 vaccine, and although he has not confirmed his unvaccinated status, it is assumed that he remains unvaccinated. Djokovic has been given a medical exemption to travel to Australia, which has strict guidelines at the moment against the virus. The Australian Open also had rules requiring players to be vaccinated to compete.
However, after Djokovic arrived in Australia, he was denied access to the country. He appealed his visa status and won the appeal. He has been allowed to enter the country and practice for the next Grand Slam tournament, which starts on Monday, January 17.
However, Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still reviewing Djokovic’s visa status before he can officially play. The Australian Open draw announcement was delayed by 75 minutes and people suspected that meant Djokovic’s name would not be on the list. But, to the surprise of many people, Djokovic is ranked No. 1 in the men’s singles draw.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s name is in the Australian Open draw right now, but can he stay?
Will Novak Djokovic play at the Australian Open 2022?
Djokovic’s playing status is yet to be determined as his visa acceptance is currently under review. In the meantime, however, he is the No. 1 seed for the 2022 Australian Open. He faces fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the tournament, which starts on Monday.
It is unclear when Immigration Minister Hawke will make a decision on Djokovic’s visa status. Djokovic’s visa was reinstated on Monday, so it will be a full week when the game starts. Hawke has not spoken publicly about any update on his decision.
What happens if Djokovic has to withdraw from the Australian Open?
If the decision on Djokovic’s visa status goes against the player, he will be deported from Australia and will have to leave the tournament.
Depending on when the decision comes, it will determine who will replace Djokovic in the tournament if he has to withdraw. The qualifying tournament before the Australian Open ends on Friday, January 14, and then the full order of play will be revealed closer to Monday. If Djokovic withdraws before the order of play is published, No. 5 Andrey Rublev will take Djokovic’s place. according to the 2022 Grand Slam regulations.
If Monday’s schedule is released before Djokovic’s withdrawal, then a “lucky loser” will replace it. These lucky losers are players who lose in the qualifying rounds, but get a chance to play in the tournament when other players have to drop out.
And finally, if Djokovic already starts playing in the tournament before the decision on his visa status is made, then his next competitor will simply go through to the next round.