Novak Djokovic confirmed as top seed for Australian Open

World No 1 was back at Melbourne Park for training on Tuesday as he continues his preparation for first Grand Slam of the year

Australian Open organisers on Tuesday installed Novak Djokovic as the top seed for the first Grand Slam of the season even as uncertainty surrounds his status in Australia.

The world No 1 won his court battle on Monday to be allowed entry into Australia having been detained on arrival and his visa cancelled last Thursday when border officials deemed proof of his medical exemption was insufficient.

The saga might not be over just yet, though, as the Australian government considers a move to deport the 34-year-old Serb under the Migrations Act. Should the government decide to revoke his visa and deport him, Djokovic could be banned from the country for three years.

"In line with due process, [Immigration] Minister [Alex] Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter," a spokesman said, declining to comment further due to legal reasons.

While the row continues to play out, Djokovic turned his focus to his tennis and after heading to the practice courts following his release on Monday, was back out at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

In aerial images taken from news video footage, the nine-time Australian Open champion could be seen going through his paces, hitting balls, and stretching with his team.

Djokovic's former coach Boris Becker warned the Serb he risks the wrath of the Australian Open when the action gets underway on January 17.

While Serbian fans celebrated outside the court-house on Monday, many Australians, who have endured months of hard lockdowns, remain angry at the current decision to allow the unvaccinated Djokovic to enter the country.

Becker, who coached Djokovic for three seasons from 2014 to 2016, told the BBC: “I’m sure there will be a couple of boos and whistles, but he’s used to that.

“He was always a street-fighter who had to fight the odds and win over the crowd, and it was fascinating in last year’s US Open final when they finally embraced him.

“The crowd will be difficult with him but with each match he starts, he will win the crowd and they will embrace him again. But he is going to have a difficult first week.”

Djokovic is aiming to become the most decorated male Grand Slam champion in history. A record-extending 10th title at Melbourne Park would move him clear on 21 majors, one more than long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

And as the world's top-ranked male player, the Serb will launch his bid as the tournament top seed, with Russia's world No 2 Daniil Medvedev, who denied Djokovic the calendar Grand Slam by winning the US Open last September seeded second.

German world No 3 Alexander Zverev and fourth-ranked Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas are seeded third and fourth respectively, while Russian Andrey Rublev is fifth followed by former world No 1 and 2009 champion Nadal.

Australia has one representative among the male seeds, with the nation's top-ranked player Alex De Minaur taking the 32nd and final place.

As expected, homegrown talent and top-ranked Ashleigh Barty was given the top seeding in the women’s singles draw when the list was released on Tuesday as the two-time major winner aims to become the first Australian woman to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

Australia's Ashleigh Barty will be the top women's seed at the 2022 Australian Open. Getty Images

Barty’s best finish at Melbourne Park was in 2020, when she lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Sofia Kenin. She reached the quarter-finals last year.

The 25-year-old started her preparations well by winning the Adelaide International title last week.

In contrast, world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who will be seeded second, has lost in the first round in both of her tune-up events. WTA Finals champion Garbine Muguruza will be seeded third, with French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova fourth.

Defending champion Naomi Osaka is seeded 13th.

Updated: January 11th 2022, 10:18 AM