It is with the hope of finding his great rival Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals that Novak Djokovic will begin the defense of his title at the Australian Open (January 17-30), on condition of not being expelled from here.
A court ruling issued on Monday allows the Serb to remain in the country despite irregularities in the procedure for obtaining his visa. But the defending champion, not vaccinated against Covid, is awaiting a decision from the Australian Minister of Immigration, who has discretionary power to expel him.
Meanwhile, Djokovic, 34-year-old in search of a record 21st Grand Slam trophy and a tenth in Melbourne, has been kept in the table with the No.1 seed.
Tournament director and Australian Federation president Craig Tiley, one of the main players in the Djokovic fiasco, declined to answer reporters’ questions following the draw.
Djokovic, who could face Gaël Monfils (19th), Cameron Norrie (12th), Pablo Carreno (21st), Carlos Alcaraz (33rd) and Matteo Berrettini (7th), hopes to find one of his great rivals in the semi-finals, Rafael Nadal, down to 6th place in the world after a year 2021 interrupted by injury from August.
The 35-year-old Spaniard is also aiming for a 21st major title. He will start against the American Marcos Giron (66th) aiming for a quarter against Alexander Zverev (3rd).
At the bottom of the table, Daniil Medvedev (2nd) will face the Swiss Henri Laaksonen (92nd) to start. The Russian, finalist last year, could find Stefanos Tsitsipas (4th) in the semi-finals.
In women, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, in search of a first title in her National Major, could find defending champion Naomi Osaka (14th) from the 8th.
The Australian will enter the competition against a player from the qualifications, while the Japanese, winner in Melbourne also in 2019, will be opposed to start against the Colombian Camila Osorio (53rd).
At the bottom of the table, world n ° 2 Aryna Sabalenka will enter the competition against Australian Storm Sanders (135th), who received an invitation. The Belarusian will aim for a possible quarter against the Polish Iga Swiatek (8th), then a half against the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza (3rd).
The 2020 finalist will start against the French Clara Burel (78th).
The shock of the first round will pit the surprise winner of the last US Open Emma Raducanu (18th) against the winner of the 2017 US Open Sloane Stephens (68th).