Novak Djokovic Listed as No. 1 Seed for 2022 Australian Open amid Vaccination Dispute

Adam WellsJanuary 11, 2022

In this photo supplied by Tennis Australia, defending champion Serbia's Novak Djokovic practices in the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. The prime ministers of Australia and Serbia have discussed Novak Djokovic's precarious visa after the top-ranked Serbian tennis star won a court battle to compete in the Australian Open but still faces the threat of deportation because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. (Scott Barbour/Tennis Australia via AP)
Scott Barbour/Tennis Australia via AP

Novak Djokovic is listed as the No. 1 overall seed in the men's bracket for the 2022 Australian Open, despite ongoing uncertainty about whether he will be allowed to play in the tournament.

Djokovic was announced as the top seed Tuesday, with the official draw scheduled to take place on Wednesday. 

Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Djokovic still isn't assured of being cleared to stay in the country despite having his visa reinstated on Monday.

"Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke is considering exercising his power to deport the tennis star under separate legislation, assessing a medical exemption that the unvaccinated Djokovic relied on to fly into Melbourne and the information supplied in the visa application," the AP wrote.

Djokovic was denied entry into Australia and had his visa canceled by the Australian Border Force last week due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

Per the Australian Department of Health, travelers coming into and out of the country must show proof of vaccination. 

A judge in Australia overruled the cancelation of Djokovic's visa and ordered he be released from detention. 

According to CNN's Hanna Ritchie, Djokovic was originally granted a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open because he recently recovered from COVID-19 after a PCR test came back positive on Dec. 16. 

However, Ritchie noted the exemption was deemed invalid under Australia's BioSecurity Act because his "previous infection with COVID-19 is not considered a medical contraindication for COVID-19 vaccination in Australia."

Another issue, according to the AP, is Djokovic said on his application to enter Australia that he had not traveled within 14 days of his flight into the country: 

The Monte Carlo-based Djokovic touched down in Melbourne just before midnight Wednesday, answering "no'' to the question about previous travel on his Australian Travel Declaration form. But the reigning Australian Open champion was filmed playing tennis in the streets of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, on Dec. 25, and training in Spain on Dec. 31—both dates within the 14-day window.

Per Ashleigh Gleeson and Ellen Ransley of News Corp. Australia, Hawke isn't expected to announce a decision on Tuesday. 

The 2022 Australian Open is scheduled to begin on Jan. 17. Djokovic has won the tournament each of the past three years. 

If Djokovic is allowed to compete, he will have an opportunity to become the first men's player to win four consecutive Australian Open titles since Roy Emerson did it in five straight years from 1963-67.