Djokovic to begin defence of Australian Open title against fellow Serb

By Paul Myers - RFI
Tennis Mike Frey AFP
JAN 13, 2022 LISTEN
Mike Frey AFP

Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic was drawn on Thursday against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round of the Australian Open.

Djokovic, 34, is seeking a record-extending 10th title in Melbourne and a record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

But his preparations for the event have been overshadowed by a dispute with the Australian government over the validity of his right to enter the country.

The immigration minister Alex Hawke is considering whether to revoke Djokovic's visa for a second time and order him to leave.

On Monday, Djokovic's lawyers overturned a decision to cancel his visa. Judge Anthony Kelly told a hearing that the tennis player had been treated unfairly when questioned over his visa at Melbourne airport on 5 January.


Djokovic said he had been told he was clear to enter the country because he had a form which said he did not have to be vaccinated due to a recent positive PCR test result .

Border agents  said a recent infection was an insufficient justification.

World number two and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, a Melbourne finalist last year, opens against Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen.


In the women's draw, top seed and world number one Ashleigh Barty, who won the Adelaide International last week, will meet a qualifier first up as she tries to become the first Australian woman to win the title since Christine McNeil in 1978.

Defending champion Naomi Osaka, seeded 13, is in Barty's quarter of the draw and will start her title defence against Colombia's Camila Osorio. She is projected to meet the Australian in the round of 16.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka will begin against Australian Storm Sanders.

British teenager Emma Raducanu, who won last year's US Open after coming through the qualifying rounds, faces a former US Open champion in the shape of the American Sloane Stephens.