Tennis News: Emma Raducanu meets Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open, which includes Novak Djokovic

Tennis News
Source: Skysports

Tennis News: Novak Djokovic drew unseeded Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the Australian Open on Thursday, as he awaits word on whether he will be permitted to stay in the nation.

The top seed, who is chasing his 21st Grand Slam championship and fourth Australian Open title in a succession, had his visa denied when he arrived in Melbourne last week due to concerns over his COVID-19 vaccination exemption.

Djokovic won a later court challenge to the cancellation, but Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has the authority to revoke his visa a second time and is still considering his options.

For an unknown reason, Tennis Australia postponed the draw for an hour and 15 minutes.

Emma Raducanu, the defending US Open winner, will face American world number 68 Sloane Stephens, who lost her final match in preparation for the tournament to Elena Rybakina 6-0 6-1 at the Sydney Classic.

Andy Murray, the former world number one, takes on Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 21st seed, who overcame the Georgian 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 in three hours to reach the Sydney quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Heather Watson will compete against Egypt’s Mayar Sherif, while British men’s No. 1 Cameron Norrie will compete against American Sebastian Korda and Dan Evans will compete against Belgian David Goffin.

Harriet Dart of the United Kingdom is in the final round of qualifying for the competition, and she needs to beat Australian Kimberly Birrell on Thursday night to qualify for the main draw.

Roman Safiullin stands between Liam Broady and a spot in the main tournament after the British No 4 defeated JJ Wolf in the final round of qualification on Wednesday night.

World No. 1 Ash Barty and fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios face qualifiers in their home tournament while defending winner Naomi Osaka faces Colombia’s, Camila Osorio.

Crowds were limited to 50% of capacity

Under new COVID-19 rules, attendance in the key stadiums will be capped at 50% capacity, according to tournament organisers.

Tennis Australia announced that the limit applies to ticket sales at the Rod Laver Arena’s centre court and Margaret Court Arena’s second show court.

In a statement, TA CEO Ben Slack said, “There are no changes to ground pass availability, and we still anticipate to see significant attendance.” “We have faith in the ‘COVIDSafe’ procedures we’ve put in place.”

Face masks will be required for all patrons “except when eating and drinking,” according to the Victorian government, and the event will follow the state’s COVID-safe guidelines, which include a density restriction of one person per two square metres for indoor hospitality.

On Thursday, Victoria reported 37,169 new cases of COVID-19, with 25 deaths.

Tsitsipas claims Djokovic is “playing by his own rules”

According to world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic has been “playing by his own rules” and has jeopardised his chance for a 21st Grand Slam championship by failing to comply with Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination criteria.

“Certainly, he’s been playing by his own rules and has done what few players had the courage to do, especially after the ATP imposed certain conditions for players to enter the nation,” Tsitsipas told India’s WION news station on Thursday.

“No one truly believed they could come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols… it takes a lot of guts to do that and jeopardise the Grand Slam, which I doubt many players would do.”

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