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If Djokovic goes, what will happen to the Australian Open?


“Limbo,” former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee said this week, “is the worst-case scenario for the tournament.”

However, for days, the uncertainty of the status of Novak Djokovic hung over the event. Friday’s decision to cancel his visa for the second time could shed some light on the matter. His plan to appeal this decision will only prolong it.

But at that point, a day after Djokovic was placed in first place in the men’s draw, the cancellation of his visa – if maintained – could force a reshuffle of the men’s squad.

If Djokovic were to be sent off from Australia, the draw for the men’s singles tournament would have to be reconfigured. Under Grand Slam rules, No.5 seed Andrey Rublev would take Djokovic’s vacant spot in the draw. Rublev’s spot at No.5 would then be taken by another seed as part of a series of cascading changes.

But if Djokovic appeals and delays his departure, or if his withdrawal were to intervene after the publication of the opening day’s order of play, his place would be taken by a so-called lucky loser: a player who had lost during the opening day. of the qualifying tournament. then was drawn to receive a newly opened place.

And instead of having Djokovic as the frontrunner to win his record-breaking 10th title and 21st Grand Slam singles championship, the focus would be on three of his most likely rivals for the trophy: US Open champion Daniil. Medvedev; Olympic champion Alexander Zverev; and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

None of this, of course, is ideal for the Open.

“If Novak were to be kicked out,” McNamee said, “the time to do so was before the toss.”


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