“Limbo,” the former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee had said this week, “is the worst scenario for the tournament.”
Yet for days, the uncertainty of Novak Djokovic’s status had hung over the event. Some clarity may be found in Friday’s decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s second visa. He will appeal the ruling.
Djokovic had been placed in the No. 1 spot on the day it happened. 1 spot in the men’s draw, the cancellation of his visa — if it is upheld — could force a reshuffling of the men’s bracket.
If Djokovic were to be kicked out of Australia, the draw for the men’s singles tournament would have to be reconfigured. Grand Slam rules state that the No. 5 seed, Andrey Rublev, would move into Djokovic’s vacant slot in the draw. Rublev’s place at No. Rublev’s No. 5 spot would then be filled with another seed in a series of cascading adjustments.
If Djokovic appeals to delay his departure or if his withdrawal is made after the order of play on the opening day has been released then his place would be taken over by a “lucky loser”: A player who has lost in the qualifying tournament but was drawn by lot to take a spot.
Instead of Djokovic being considered the favorite to win his record 10th title as well as his 21st Grand Slam singles champion, the focus would shift towards three of his most likely competitors for the trophy: Daniil Mevedev, Alexander Zverev, and Rafael Nadal (20-time Grand Slam champion).
None of it is, however, ideal for the Open.
“If Novak was going to be kicked out,” McNamee said, “the time to do it was before the draw.”
Source: NY Times