Novak Djokovic included in Australian Open draw despite Covid storm

World No 1 still on course to defend his Melbourne title with final decision pending

Novak Djokovic has been included in the draw for the Australian Open despite the legal battle over the world No 1's arrival in the country without a Covid-19 vaccine.

The 34-year-old's hopes of a record 21st Grand Slam remain on course despite admitting breaking isolation rules in Serbia and to an incorrect statement in his Australian travel declaration.

The government is still deciding whether to revoke his visa for a second time, after a first cancellation was dramatically overturned in court. The draw was delayed as talks continued, but eventually took place including the Serb. He was drawn against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the tournament, which starts on Monday.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke could still exercise his discretionary powers to revoke Djokovic's visa over concerns about the superstar's medical exemption.

Djokovic flew into Australia on January 5 claiming a vaccine exemption because of a positive PCR test result on December 16.

Border agents rejected his exemption, saying a recent infection was an insufficient reason, tore up his visa and placed him in a detention centre.

But the vaccine-sceptic Djokovic's high-powered legal team overturned the visa decision in court on Monday on a procedural matter related to his airport interview.

Djokovic described reports about his post-infection outings in Serbia as "misinformation" in an Instagram post Wednesday.

On the day of his claimed positive test in Serbia, he appeared at a ceremony to honour him with stamps bearing his image. The following day he attended a youth tennis event.

Djokovic said he only received the PCR test result after attending the children's tennis event on December 17.

But he admitted that he also went ahead with an interview with French sports daily L'Equipe on December 18.

"On reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment," Djokovic said.

Updated: January 13th 2022, 6:27 AM