Will Novak Djokovic play in Australian Open? Latest news on tennis star's visa decision

Written By Madison Williams
Novak-Djokovic-120821
(Getty Images)

The No. 1 men's tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, continues to make headlines with regard to his playing status for the 2022 Australian Open, a tournament he has won nine times.

Djokovic has been outspoken against COVID-19 vaccination, and although he hasn't confirmed his unvaccinated status, it's assumed that he remains unvaccinated. Djokovic was given a medical exemption to travel to Australia, which has strict guidelines against the virus. The Australian Open also had rules in place that players must be vaccinated to compete. 

MORE: Novak Djokovic vaccine controversy, explained

After Djokovic arrived in Australia, however, he was denied access into the country. He appealed his visa status and won. He was allowed to enter the country and practice for the upcoming Grand Slam tournament, which starts Monday, Jan. 17, in Melbourne (Sunday, Jan. 16, in the U.S.). 

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has since twice revoked Djokovic's visa status, which put his ability to play in doubt. Djokovic's visa was revoked the second time on Friday, and he made another appeal to stay in the country and play in the tournament. The hearing concluded Sunday in Australia.

Djokovic's name was on the Australian Open draw, but will he be able to play?

MORE: Australian Open draws 2022

Is Novak Djokovic playing in the Australian Open 2022?

A three-judge panel on Sunday ordered Djokovic deported from Australia after his visa was revoked for a second time Friday. That means Djokovic will be unable to play in the upcoming Australian Open. 

Djokovic was the No. 1 men's seed for the tournament. He would have faced a fellow Serbian, Miomir Kecmanovic, in the first round. His match was the last scheduled match in Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

MORE: Djokovic issues statement clarifying 'misinformation' regarding Australia travel controversy

What happens if Djokovic has to pull out of the Australian Open?

Because Djokovic was ordered deported from Australia, he will have to drop out of the tournament.

The order of play was released before the ruling was made, so a "lucky loser" will replace him in the field. These are players who lost in the qualifying rounds but get a chance to play in the tournament when other players have to drop out.

If Djokovic had withdrawn before the order of play was released, then No. 5 Andrey Rublev would have taken Djokovic's place, according to the 2022 Grand Slam rulebook.

If Djokovic had played through his first-round match, or any more matches during the tournament, before the decision about his visa status was made, then his next competitor would have moved on to the next round.

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