What would Djokovic’s departure mean for the Australian Open round?


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

But uncertainty over Novak Djokovic’s status hung over the event for days. Friday’s decision to revoke his visa for the second time could bring some clarity. His plan to appeal that ruling will only extend it.

But the moment it happened, a day after Djokovic was placed in the number 1 place in the men’s draw, the cancellation of his visa – if confirmed – could force a reshuffle of the men’s braces.

If Djokovic were to be evicted from Australia, the men’s singles draw would have to be reconfigured. Under Grand Slam rules, Andrey Rublev, the number 5 in the standings, would move to Djokovic’s vacated spot in the draw. Rublev’s place at number 5 would then be filled by another seed as part of a series of cascading changes.

But if Djokovic appeals and postpones his departure, or if his withdrawal were to occur after the opening day play order was released, his place would be taken by a so-called lucky loser: a player who had lost in the qualifying tournament and then drawn by lot. to get a new clearing.

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

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

“If Novak was going to be kicked out,” McNamee said, “the time to do it was before the draw.”

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