Novak Djokovic yesterday remained in limbo even after he was included in the draw for the Australian Open, with the tennis star still awaiting an Australian government decision on whether to deport him for not being vaccinated for COVID-19.
Despite the cloud hanging over Djokovic’s ability to compete, Australian Open organizers included the top seed in the draw.
He is slated to play fellow Serb and world No. 78 Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round next week.
No. 1-ranked Djokovic had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was rejected, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country.
Australian Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke has been considering the question since a judge on Monday reinstated Djokovic’s visa.
Expectations of a pending decision were raised when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called an afternoon news conference after a national Cabinet meeting.
Speculation heightened when the tournament draw was postponed by 75 minutes to a time after Morrison’s news conference.
The wait continued after both events concluded, with Morrison referring questions on Djokovic to his immigration minister.
“These are personal ministerial powers able to be exercised by Minister Hawke and I don’t propose to make any further comment at this time,” Morrison said.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley also declined comment after the draw ceremony for the tournament.
The 34-year-old Djokovic has been trying to focus his attention on the playing court in the four days since he was released from immigration detention.
He held a practice session at Rod Laver Arena, his fourth this week, in the afternoon.
He was on the practice court on Wednesday when a statement posted on his social media accounts acknowledged that his Australian travel declaration form contained incorrect information.
In the statement, Djokovic blamed “human error” by his support team for failing to declare that he had traveled in the two-week period before entering Australia. Giving false information on the form could be grounds for deportation.
That could result in sanctions ranging up to a three-year ban from entering Australia, a daunting prospect for a player who has won almost half of his 20 Grand Slam singles titles there.
Djokovic acknowledged the lapses when he sought to clarify “continuing misinformation” about his movements after he contracted COVID-19 last month.
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