After Initial Delay, Australian Open Draw Announced, Djokovic Included
Djokovic and Rafael Nadal feature in the same half of the men's singles draw.
After an initial delay, which was believed to be due to the ongoing immigration investigation against Novak Djokovic, the 2022 Australian Open draw has been announced. And it features the men's world number one.
Earlier today, the draw announcement was put on hold, just minutes before the event, and many believed it was due to Australian Prime Minister's impending press conference that was to follow half an hour later.
However, Morrison refused to answer any question regarding Djokovic and half an hour after his media interaction, the Australian Open too went ahead an announced the draw.
It is not yet known whether the two were connected.
Djokovic, the nine-time Australian Open winner, is hoping to become the player to win most Grand Slam titles by claiming his 21st men's singles crown in the Australian Open, which starts on January 17, breaking a tie for most tiles with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He is likely to face his first seeded player -- 25th ranked Lorenzo Sonego of Italy -- in the third round.
Meanwhile, a decision is yet to come through from Australia's Minister of Immigration Alex Hawke as to whether or not the top-seeded Serb and nine-time champion will be allowed to defend his title. But organisers already have in place the guidelines to change the draw should Djokovic be forced to withdraw.
According to the Grand Slam rulebook: "If the withdrawal is among seeds 1 to 4, the 5th seed is moved into the open position, the 5th position shall be filled by the 17th seed, and the 17th position shall be filled by the next highest-ranked player eligible to be seeded."
As per this rule, if top-seeded Djokovic has to pull out, then fifth seed Andrey Rublev takes his place in the draw. Gael Monfils, the 17th seed makes Rublev's place, and Bublik becomes the new 17th seed.
In case Djokovic withdraws after the order of play is made, he will be replaced by a Lucky Loser, a player who lost in the third and final round of the qualification stage. In case, Djokovic has to withdraw after playing his first-round match, his opponent in the second round will get a bye.
Second seed Daniel Medvedev of Russia will open his campaign against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, ranked 92nd in the world. Next up for Medvedev will be Australia's Nick Kyrgios, who had withdrawn from the Adelaide International due to the Covid positive test and will open his Australian Open campaign against a qualifier if he recovers in time.
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