The No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, continues to make headlines in regards to his playing status for the 2022 Australian Open, a grand slam tournament he’s won nine times.
Djokovic has been outspoken about his thoughts against the COVID-19 vaccination, and although he hasn’t confirmed his unvaccinated status, it’s assumed that he remains unvaccinated. Djokovic was given a medical exemption in order to travel to Australia, which has strict guidelines right now against the virus. The Australian Open also had rules in place that the players must be vaccinated to compete.
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After Djokovic arrived in Australia, though, he was denied access into the country. He appealed his visa status, and he won the appeal. He was allowed to enter the country and practice for the upcoming grand slam tournament, which starts on Monday, Jan. 17.
However, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has twice revoked Djokovic’s visa status, putting his ability to play in doubt. Djokovic’s visa was revoked the second time on Friday, and he awaits a hearing regarding another appeal to attempt to stay in the country and play in the tournament.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s name is on the Australian Open draw right now, but will he be able to stay?
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Is Novak Djokovic playing in the Australian Open 2022?
Djokovic faces deportation again after his visa was revoked for a second time Friday just days before the start of the Australian Open. He is expected to appeal the ruling and is scheduled to appear before immigration officials in Melbourne at 4 p.m. ET Friday. Djokovic’s visa had been reinstated on Monday upon winning his first appeal.
In the meantime, Djokovic remains the No. 1 seed for the 2022 Australian Open. He would face a fellow Serbian, Miomir Kecmanovic, in the first round of the tournament, beginning on Monday.
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What happens if Djokovic has to pull out of the Australian Open?
If Djokovic’s visa status decision comes out against the player, he will be deported from Australia and have to drop out of the tournament.
Depending on when the decision comes will determine who will replace Djokovic in the tournament if he has to withdraw. The qualifying tournament ahead of the Australian Open finishes on Friday, Jan. 14, and then the full order of play will be released closer to Monday. If Djokovic withdraws before the order of play is released, then No. 5 Andrey Rublev will take Djokovic’s place, according to the 2022 Grand Slam rulebook.
If the Monday schedule is released before Djokovic’s withdrawl, then a “lucky loser” will replace him. 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 begins playing in the tournament before the decision is made about his visa status, then his next competitor will just move on to the next round.