Novak Djokovic was drawn against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic as uncertainty
continued over whether he will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open.
Djokovic, who is looking to win a record 10th Australian Open and 21st grand slam
title, duly took his place at the top of the draw.
Organiser Tennis Australia had delayed the official draw for more than an hour,
without saying why.
Although Djokovic was included in the Australian Open official draw on Thursday,
uncertainty remained about whether the government will cancel the top seed’s visa
for a second time.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is weighing exercising his discretionary power to
revoke Djokovic’s visa over concern about the star’s medical exemption from
Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
The 34-year-old defending champion, was out practicing at the Rod Laver Arena
earlier on Thursday.
Djokovic, a vaccine sceptic, fuelled widespread anger in Australia last week when he
announced he was heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open with a medical
exemption from requirements for visitors to be inoculated against COVID-19.
On his arrival, Australian Border Force officials decided his exemption was invalid
and he was held alongside asylum-seekers at an immigration detention hotel for
A court on Monday allowed him to stay on the grounds that officials had been
“unreasonable” in the way they handled his interview in a seven-hour process in the
middle of the night.
The government, which has won support at home for its tough stance on border
security before and during the pandemic, must now decide whether to let Djokovic
remain and bid for a record 21st major title.