Australian Open draw delayed as Novak Djokovic decision looms

Defending men's champion Serbia's Novak Djokovic rests during a practice session on Margaret Court Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (Mark Baker/AP Photo)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The Australian Open draw was delayed at least 75 minutes Thursday amid uncertainty over top-ranked Novak Djokovic's visa status.

The draw, to determine the men's and women's singles brackets at the year's first tennis major, was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. local time in Melbourne, but a tournament official told waiting media that the ceremony had been postponed until further notice and declined further comment.

It was later rescheduled to 4:15 p.m. local time.

The Australian Open begins Monday. Djokovic traveled to Australia seeking to win a 21st Grand Slam titles to break the men's record of 20 he shared with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Australian immigration minister was still considering whether to deport the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, on public interest grounds.

Djokovic remained in limbo.

The 34-year-old Serb had his visa canceled 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.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can overrule the judge's decision to reinstate the visa.

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