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Novak Djokovic drawn to play Australian Open first round amid visa saga

The world number one, top seed and defending champion is looking to clinch a 10th title at Melbourne Park and a record 21st Grand Slam crown.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic takes a break as he practices at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022.(REUTERS)
Published on Jan 13, 2022 11:22 AM IST

Defending champion Novak Djokovic, who has been seeded one, has been drawn to play compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the 2022 edition of the Australian Open amid ongoing uncertainty over his visa status.

The world number one will be aiming for an unprecedented 10th title at the Melbourne Park and a record 21st Grand Slam title that will take him past Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time list.

Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday he did not want to comment on Novak Djokovic's visa status and that it was up to the immigration minister to decide whether to revoke it or not.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is weighing exercising his discretionary powers to revoke top seed Djokovic's visa which could scuttle the Serbian superstar's bid for a record 21st major tennis title at the Australian Open.

Djokovic who took the 'official and approved' PCR test on December 16 also revealed that he had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after attending a tennis event in Belgrade on Dec 17 where he presented awards to the children. On the aforementioned days, the Serbian also did a rapid antigen test, which both times tested negative.

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After knowing the COVID positive result, Djokovic on December 18 at his tennis centre in Belgrade fulfilled a 'long-standing commitment' for a media interview and photoshoot for a French daily.

However, Djokovic has now conceded that giving an interview was an error of judgement and accepted that he should have rescheduled this commitment.

(with agency inputs)

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