Novak Djokovic: The first opponent is certain – the visa is still unclear

Australian Open
Decision on Djokovic visa postponed again – first round opponents drawn

Novak Djokovic during training in Melbourne. It is still unclear whether the tennis star will be allowed to stay in Australia.

© Graham Denholm / Getty Images

At the start of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic could meet a compatriot in the first round. However, it is still unclear whether the Serb will be allowed to start at all.

Novak Djokovic was part of the draw despite the unclear situation about his visa at the Australian Open and is supposed to play against his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round. It is still unclear whether the Serb will actually be allowed to compete in the first Grand Slam of the year, which starts on Monday. The decision of Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke was still pending after the draw for the tennis tournament. Even the more than an hour delay with which the event had started did nothing to change that.

Novak Djokovic: Duel with Alexander Zverev possible in the semifinals

Number one seed Djokovic is in the same half of the tournament as German number one Alexander Zverev. As in the Olympic Games and the US Open, the two could only meet in the semifinals. Zverev meets Daniel Altmaier in a German duel in the first round.

The decision about the participation of tennis professional Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open is still open. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday, when asked by a reporter, that Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke was considering exercising his personal rights and revoking the world’s number one visa. “These are personal ministerial powers that Secretary Hawke can use and I will not comment on them at this time,” said Morrison. A spokesman for Immigration Secretary Hawke said on Wednesday that the player’s lawyers had made “extensive further submissions”. This will lengthen the decision-making process.

Worry about precedent

Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper quoted an anonymous government official as saying that a decision in favor of Djokovic would set a dangerous precedent. The Australian government is expected to act despite the international “headwind”, since the visa waiver is in line with the strict Corona regulations.

Djokovic is not vaccinated against the coronavirus, his visa could be withdrawn by the government. The 34-year-old number one in the tennis world rankings was stopped last week on arrival at the airport and initially taken to a deportation hotel because the border officials did not have enough documents for his medical exemption. Djokovic successfully defended himself against the decision in court on Monday and has been training in Melbourne since then. He has already won the Australian Open nine times and is the defending champion.

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