Djokovic to play late match at Rod Laver Arena, pending court decision

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic 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/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

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MELBOURNE, Jan 16 (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic will play the late match of the evening session at Rod Laver Arena against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic when the Australian Open starts on Monday, pending a court decision.

Defending champion Djokovic is appealing the cancellation of his visa by Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke at the Federal Court, which may release a decision later on Sunday as to whether the Serb can remain in the country. read more

Hawke used discretionary powers to cancel the Serb’s visa for a second time on the grounds he was a threat to public order because his presence would encourage anti-vaccination sentiment.

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Should the court rule against Djokovic, his place in the draw will be taken by a lucky loser from qualifying.

Djokovic’s match will follow home favourite Ash Barty’s opener against Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko on Rod Laver Arena’s centre court, according to the order of play released on Sunday.

Women’s defending champion Naomi Osaka will play unseeded Colombian Camila Osorio in the second match of the day session at Rod Laver Arena, before former men’s Rafa Nadal takes to the court against American Marcos Giron.

Third seed and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev will meet fellow German Daniel Altmaier in the first evening match at Margaret Court Arena, the second showcourt at Melbourne Park.

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Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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