Novak Djokovic visa saga LIVE updates: Immigration Minister yet to make decision as Serbian tennis star’s 2022 Australian Open campaign remains in limbo

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  • Djokovic hits the court again this morning
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Djokovic hits the court again this morning

Photographers were out to capture Novak Djokovic’s practice session at Melbourne Park this morning:

Djokovic at Melbourne Park on Friday morning.Credit:Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Djokovic plays a backhand during practice,Credit:Daniel Pocket/Getty Images

During practice this morning.Credit:Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Djokovic drawn against fellow Serbian in first round despite uncertainty

The Australian Open draw went ahead yesterday, albeit delayed after Tennis Australia expected an announcement – that never came – on Novak Djokovic’s visa.

Djokovic, a nine-time winner of the tournament pursuing a record-breaking 21st major title, faces Serbian world No.78 Miomir Kecmanovic, 12 years his junior, The Age’s Scott Spits reported.

Novak Djokovic trains in the Melbourne heat on Thursday as he awaits a decision on the status of his visa.Credit:Eddie Jim

Elsewhere in the draw, Australia’s No.1 player, Queenslander Ashleigh Barty, drew a qualifier while Nick Kyrgios, under a cloud after contracting COVID-19, has also been drawn against a qualifier.

If Djokovic is forced out of the Open, which starts on Monday, fifth seed, Russian Andrey Rublev, would be elevated into the top seeding spot.

According to provisions spelt out in the International Tennis Federation grand slam rule book, any seeded players seeded between the first and fourth spots who withdraw would be replaced by the 17th seed.

That seeding spot is currently held by the tour veteran, Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Decorated swimmer Michael Phelps reflects on Djokovic

Five-time Olympian Michael Phelps was asked about Novak Djokovic during an interview a few hours ago with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in the U.S.

Phelps, who won 28 Olympic medals, said athletes were role models, and some people needing to take coronavirus more seriously.

“When it comes to COVID and everything that we’re all going through, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve had COVID and it was terrible, I literally thought I was going to die for 36 hours. It was the most miserable experience I’ve really had,” Phelps said.

“It’s something that has killed a lot of people, and we all need to be on the same page if we’re all going to get through this together.

We can all work together and follow certain guidelines and stay healthy, and we can fight through this.

Some of us probably need to take it a little bit more seriously than we do, there are a lot of people that are suffering and there are a lot of families that have lost loved ones.”

Djokovic decision likely today

Our journalists who have been leading the coverage – Paul Sakkal and Anthony Galloway -reported last night that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is likely to announce his decision today.

Sakkal and Galloway said one Liberal Party source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the government was strongly leaning towards cancelling the visa.

If the announcement was made later on Friday, it would minimise the amount of time Djokovic had to go to court to prevent the cancellation.

Another source close Novak Djokovic, speaking anonymously to detail private planning, told the journalists the top seed’s legal team would immediately take the minister to court if his visa was cancelled.

If the case does go to court, the 20-time grand slam winner’s legal team hope the matter could be heard in court over the weekend and finalised by Sunday, allowing him to play a match early next week if he beats the government for a second time.

The tournament begins on Monday.

Welcome to another day of ‘Djoker’ watch

Good morning, happy Friday, and welcome to another day of Djokovic watch.

Sick of the saga yet? Can’t get enough?

We’re hoping Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announces his decision on the Australian Open champion’s visa today, and we will bring you all the news as soon as it breaks. Thanks for sticking with us.

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