Australian Open draw delayed as Novak Djokovic decision looms


The Australian Open draw did not start at its scheduled time on Thursday with reporters on the ground saying it was delayed until further notice.

The delay comes with the Australian government nearing a decision on whether to deport Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, on public interest grounds.

The men’s tennis No. 1 had his visa cancelled on arrival in Melbourne last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he won a legal battle on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay in the country. He still faces the prospect of deportation — a decision that is entirely at the discretion of Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke if deemed to be in the public interest for health and safety reasons.

There also are reports that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will speak at 11:45 p.m. ET

The first Grand Slam of the season is scheduled to start on Monday.

— With files from The Associated Press

More to come.

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