The Australian Open 2022 draw was delayed at least 75 minutes Thursday amid uncertainty over top-ranked Novak Djokovic’s visa status. (More Tennis News)
The draw, to determine the men’s and women’s singles brackets at the year’s first tennis major, was scheduled to be held at 3 PM local time (9:30 AM IST) in Melbourne, but a tournament official told waiting media that the ceremony had been postponed until further notice and declined further comment.
It was later rescheduled to 4:15 PM local time (10:45 AM IST). The Australian Open 2022 begins Monday. Djokovic traveled to Australia seeking to win a 21st Grand Slam titles to break the men's record of 20 he shared with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Australian immigration minister was still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, on public interest grounds. Djokovic remained in limbo.
The 34-year-old Serb had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can overrule the judge's decision to reinstate the visa.
Meanwhile, amidst all the controversy related to Djokovic, the nine-time Australian Open champion was seeded top in the men's singles category. Homegrown talent and top-ranked Ashleigh Barty was given the No. 1 seeding in the women's singles.