The no. 1 tennis player in the world, 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 openly expressed his thoughts against vaccination against COVID-19, 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 twice revoked Djokovic’s visa status, casting doubt on his ability to play. Djokovic’s visa was revoked for the second time on Friday and he awaits a hearing on another appeal to try to stay in the country and play in the tournament.
Djokovic’s name is in the Australian Open draw right now, but will he be able to stay?
Will Novak Djokovic play at the Australian Open 2022?
Djokovic faces deportation again after his visa was revoked for the second time on Friday, just days before the start of the Australian Open. He appealed the ruling and appeared before immigration officials in Melbourne on Friday afternoon. The presiding judge ordered Djokovic’s lawyers and the Australian government to submit written arguments on Saturday ahead of a court hearing scheduled for Sunday morning in Australia.
Djokovic’s visa was reinstated on Monday after winning his first appeal.
Meanwhile, Djokovic remains the No. 1 seed for the 2022 Australian Open. He was due to face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the tournament, starting on Monday.
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 retires before the order of play is published, then No. 5 Andrey Rublev wants to take Djokovic’s place, according to the 2022 Grand Slam regulations.
If Monday’s schedule is released before Djokovic’s retirement, 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.
Finally, if Djokovic already starts playing in the tournament before the decision on his visa status is made, then his next competitor will simply proceed to the next round.