Novak Djokovic was suspended in a net – Sport – Kommersant

In Melbourne, the draw for the Australian Open, a Grand Slam tournament starting on 17 January, took place. The question of the participation of the first racket of the world Novak Djokovic in it remains open. The Serb’s rival in the 1/64 finals was his compatriot Miomir Ketsmanovic, but Australian Minister of Immigration Alex Hawk may still decide to deport Djokovic from the country. So far, the verdict on this issue has been postponed at least until Friday.

The draw for the Australian Open started late. For more than an hour, the organizers of the tournament were waiting for a press conference of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who, as many expected, could either announce a decision on the possible deportation of Novak Djokovic, or at least hint what it would be. But since Mr. Morrison did not say anything on the merits of this issue, Mr. Djokovic remained at the head of the list of “seeded” participants, having got another Serb – Miomir Ketsmanovic as rivals, which became an ideal option for the first racket of the world. It is unlikely that the 22-year-old Belgrade, who occupies only 78th place in the ranking, will risk seriously raising his hand against the hero of the Serbian nation, which is now considered to be Djokovic. And the quick defeat, which Ketsmanovic suffered in 75 minutes in their only face-to-face meeting in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Belgrade last spring, clearly speaks in favor of the favorite.

However, it is too early to talk about this game. After all, the issue of depriving Djokovic of the right to stay on the Green Continent simply moved from Thursday’s agenda to Friday. Moreover, if the Minister of Immigration Alex Hawke in any of the coming days nevertheless announces that the tennis player’s visa has been revoked again, the case on the initiative of Djokovic’s lawyers will again return to the Federal Court.

And this is where the most interesting thing begins, because, according to the AR, it is possible two options:

  • or Djokovic will be able to play on the courts of Melbourne Park at least until the court order is issued,
  • or he will go into isolation again, that is, he will not be able to start defending last year’s title.

It is not yet possible to predict with a high degree of probability what Hawke’s decision will be. The specificity of the situation also lies in the fact that in Australia, the attitude towards the main character of this series is changing along the way. At first, residents of the country, who were 91.3% vaccinated against coronavirus, were, for the most part, unequivocally opposed to the unvaccinated tennis star. Then, when Djokovic spent four days in a hotel of dubious service for expats, the pendulum of public opinion swung in his favor, a trend that was reinforced by Monday’s court ruling. But when the tennis player admitted to participating in public events in Serbia after testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, criticism intensified again.

“The overwhelming majority of Australians do not like that anyone, be it a tennis player, a Spanish king or an English queen, can come here without following the same set of rules that others are forced to abide by,” said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

In the meantime, it became known that the Australian Open decided to limit the presence of fans. The organizers do not intend to cancel the tickets already sold. But at those sessions, where it is still possible, the capacity of the stands will be no more than 50%. The reason for this step is obvious. Over the past few days, the coronavirus situation in Australia has deteriorated significantly. If a month ago less than 2 thousand new cases were recorded daily, then on Wednesday their number increased to 175 thousand.

There are cases of infection among tennis players, and the story with Australian Bernard Tomich, who lost to Russian Roman Safiullin in the first round of qualification for the Australian Open, looks very indicative in general.

The tennis player announced his poor health to the umpire right during the match, which was brought to the end. Later it became known that Tomich’s test for COVID-19 was positive. Safiullin, who recently distinguished himself as a member of the Russian national team at the ATP Cup, won another victory on Thursday and reached the final of the qualifying tournament.

Evgeny Fedyakov

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