Aussie draw delayed; Novak to face fellow Serb

MELBOURNE, Australia — The Australian Open draw was delayed Thursday amid uncertainty over top-ranked Novak Djokovic’s visa status.

The draw, to determine the men’s and women’s singles brackets at the year’s first tennis major, was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. local time in Melbourne, but a tournament official told waiting media that the ceremony had been postponed until further notice and declined further comment.

It was later rescheduled to 4:15 p.m. local time.

Djokovic, the top seed, will first face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

The Australian Open begins Monday. Djokovic traveled to Australia seeking to win a 21st Grand Slam title to break the men’s record of 20 he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Australian immigration minister is still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, on public interest grounds.

Djokovic remains in limbo.

The 34-year-old Serb had his visa canceled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can overrule the judge’s decision to reinstate the visa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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