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Australian Open 2022: Djokovic drawn against countryman Miomir Kecmanovic despite uncertainty over visa status

Despite uncertainty over whether the government will cancel Novak Djokovic's visa for a second time, the World No.1 was included in Thursday's Australian Open 2022 official draw.

tennis Australian Open 2022 novak Djokovic drawn against countryman Miomir Kecmanovic despite uncertainty over visa status
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Melbourne, First Published Jan 13, 2022, 12:05 PM IST
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World No.1 men's tennis star Novak Djokovic was on Thursday (January 13) included in the Australian Open 2022 official draw, despite uncertainty over whether the government will cancel the top-seeded player's visa for a second time. 

Djokovic, who has been embroiled in a visa row since he arrived in Melbourne on January 5, has been drawn against countryman and Davis Cup teammate Miomir Kecmanovic in round one in the Grand Slam set to begin on Monday.

Tennis Australia had earlier delayed the official draw for more than an hour without explanation. 

Novak Djokovic, a COVID-19 vaccine sceptic, hit the headlines after his visa was cancelled on arrival in Melbourne, despite having a medical exemption from Tennis Australia. After Australian Border Force officials decided his exemption was invalid, World No.1 was held at an immigration detention hotel for several days.

On Monday (January 10), a federal court in Melbourne allowed him to stay in Australia on the grounds that officials had been 'unreasonable' with the manner in which they handled Djokovic's interview in a seven-hour long process. However, the court added that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could still exercise his personal powers to cancel the Serbian's visa, which could lead to a ban from entering Australia for three years.

Novak Djokovic's cause was not helped when the Serb admitted that a mistake was made by his agent in his Australian entry declaration, where the box stating he did not travel abroad 14 days prior to leaving for Australia was ticked. In fact, he had gone to Spain from Serbia. The 34-year-old tennis star apologised for the 'human error', acknowledging that he should have rescheduled an interview and an interview with a French newspaper on December 18 while infected with COVID-19.

While in detention, fans of Novak Djokovic supported him with anti-vaxxers hailing him as a hero. However, Tennis Australia has not ruled out the possibility of Djokovic facing hostility if and when he walks out on the court.

It remains to be seen if the Australian government will allow Djokovic to participate in the first Grand Slam of the year and revive his bid for a record 21st major title. Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to comment on Djokovic's visa earlier today.

Also read: Novak Djokovic wins Australia visa case: Of fans, family, justice, love for tennis and hope

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