World number one has been drawn for his first-round match while Australia's immigration minister still considers whether to deport Djokovic over his Covid-19 vaccine exemption.
Novak Djokovic has been included in the Australian Open official draw, although it is still uncertain whether the government will cancel his visa for a second time.
World number one was drawn on Thursday with fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who is ranked 78th, for his first-round match.
Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke is still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Top-ranked Djokovic had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was rejected, but won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country.
Hawke has been considering the question since a judge reinstated Djokovic’s visa last Monday. The tournament starts next Monday.
If he’s allowed to stay, Djokovic’s bid for a men's record 21st major title could mean a quarterfinal against number 7-ranked Matteo Berrettini and possibly a semifinal against Rafael Nadal or third-seeded Alexander Zverev.
The draw ceremony had been delayed amid uncertainty over Djokovic’s visa status.
It had been scheduled to be held at 3PM local time, but a tournament official told waiting media that the ceremony had been delayed until further notice and declined comment. It eventually started around 4:15 PM local time.
According to the 2022 Grand Slam Rule Book, if Djokovic is forced to pull out of the tournament before the order of play for Day 1 is announced, number 5 seed Andrey Rublev would move into Djokovic’s spot in the bracket.
If Djokovic withdraws from the tournament after Monday’s schedule is released, he would be replaced in the field by what’s known as a “lucky loser” - a player who loses in the qualifying tournament but gets into the main draw because of another player’s exit before competition has started.
And if Djokovic plays in one match, or more and is then told he can no longer participate in the tournament, his next opponent would simply advance to the following round and there would be no replacement.