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The tennis world was left perplexed after expecting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce the fate of World No.1 Novak Djokovic following his visa debacle in his presser, only to be let down.
At 2.58pm on Thursday, the Australian Open made the sensational decision to delay the draw with no reason given.
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Not long after, it was announced Prime Minister Morrison would be making an announcement at 3.45pm.
This sparked speculation that Minster Alex Hawke had made his decision on whether or not to use his discretionary powers to deport Djokovic.
However, after talking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic gripping Australia, Morrison made it clear there would be no decision on Djokovic at the presser.
This sparked an outpouring of frustration from the tennis world at home and abroad with many fans around the world tuning into the presser.
So why the draw delay?
This is getting more and more pathetic... https://t.co/lb6SRLASUU
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 13, 2022
Australian Govt. is still yet to announce their decision on #Djokovic. This has caused the delays seen today with the #AusOpen draw. Huge ramifications on the draw if Djokovic is booted out of Australia - which is the expected outcome. How poorly has this whole saga been handled?
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) January 13, 2022
The AO draw is about to start.
A delay to it inevitably led to assumptions that Djokovic news was imminent. @PaulSakkal reports that it is not … yet.
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 13, 2022
Australian PM Morrison says the govt’s position with regards to #Djokovic hasn’t changed and immigration minister Hawke will take a decision on him, as to whether he deported or allowed to stay back. Now what! #AustralianOpen2022 @AustralianOpen https://t.co/TY8kWubaJw
— Rahul Rawat (@rawatrahul9) January 13, 2022
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 13, 2022
A reporter did ask the question at the end of the presser on whether the government still regarded unvaccinated non-citizens and non-residents a threat to public health and if so should a person keep an Australian visa if they were allowed in?
Morrison briefly entertained the question, while not mentioning Djokovic specifically.
The prime minister said since December 15 fully vaccinated eligible visa holders could travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption and enter those states allowing them to enter quarantine free.
These individuals have to show they are double vaccinated or must provide acceptable proof that they can't be vaccinated for medical reasons.
"That's the policy which hasn't changed. That is the policy and we would expect authorities to be implementing the policy of the government when it comes to those matters. That relates to people who are coming to Australia," Morrison said.
"If you're not a citizen or resident, the health rules we have in place to protect our borders and our border protection policies have been central to the government's achievements."
Novak Djokovic named in Aus Open draw
While there was no mention of Djokovic's deportation status, the World No.1 was named in the Aus Open draw.
Bidding for a men's record 21 grand slam titles and a ninth Aus Open title, Djokovic was drawn against fellow Serb World No.78 Miomir Kecmanovic.
Novak Djokovic's name is, as expected, still in the AO men's draw for at least another day.
He has been drawn against Miomir Kecmanovic.
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 13, 2022
1st round draw: (1) Novak Djokovic (Serbia)* v Miomir Kecmanovic (Serbia)
* subject to potential deportation by the federal government
What an absurd state of affairs.
— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) January 13, 2022
Djokovic's inclusion in the draw could become controversial if Minister Hawke does decide to use ministerial powers and deport the World No.1.
The UK Telegraph writer Oliver Brown said it was an 'absurd state of affairs' Djokovic's participation status is still in doubt.
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