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Djokovic included in Australian Open draw despite visa threat

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Novak Djokovic has been entered into the first tennis grand slam of 2022 even as doubts remain over whether he’ll be allowed to stay in Australia and compete, according to Bloomberg. 

The Australian Open number one seed will play fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in his first-round match, according to results of the official draw Thursday. Just minutes prior to the draw, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that the decision on Djokovic’s visa was still an ongoing process and wouldn’t comment further.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has been considering the matter since Monday, when an earlier decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was quashed by Australia’s Federal Court. The judge said the player wasn’t given enough time to fully respond to border officials who denied him entry to the country last week.  

Djokovic caused further controversy on Wednesday by admitting that he attended a newspaper interview and photoshoot when he knew he was infectious with Covid-19, while he also blamed “human error” for an incorrect travel declaration that he used to enter Australia.

The Australian Open is set to begin Monday with crowds capped at half capacity as authorities in host city Melbourne worry about surging Covid infections and hospitalizations. Spectators will be required to wear face masks and density limits will apply for all indoor hospitality areas.