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by Ralph Trayfalgar Updated:
After the issue surrounding Novak Djokovic’s visa, the spotlight will soon return to the court at the Australian Open. During the buildup to the first grand slam of 2022, the Serbian player’s visa cancellation overshadowed the tournament’s preparations.
Novak Djokovic, whose visa was revoked on Sunday after a decision by the Australian government, was escorted to the airport and deported without further delay.
Naturally, the draw for the Australian Open has practically burst wide open with a massive shift in the wake of Djokovic’s exit.
The saga, entailing the world No 1 and known vaccine skeptic, made headlines across the world, with supporters of the Serbian star saying it was a fight for freedom and critics saying he was trying to dodge the system.
A few hours before departing from Dubai for Melbourne, Novak Djokovic posted on Instagram that he has received a special medical exemption, which sparked a massive social media outcry in Australia.
Australia’s Border Force detains the tennis player in an airport hotel overnight after denying him permission to enter the country and telling him of their intention to deport him two days later. As his visa is revoked, Serbia’s president protests against the Australian authorities.
Djokovic would be cooped up at a hotel for asylum seekers for the next 72 hours. By January 10, a judge rejected the cancellation of his visa and ordered his release. According to court records, Djokovic was given a medical exemption on December 16, which frees him from prosecution.
The story, however, was far from over. Djokovic’s claim on his immigration paperwork that he hadn’t travelled for 14 days prior to entering the country is later contradicted by social media posts and eyewitness testimony. It was revealed that, even after Djokovic’s PCR test result came back positive, the tennis star left quarantine to meet with a French magazine for an interview and photoshoot.
By using his discretionary powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke invoked the potential of “civil unrest” and said that Djokovic may boost the anti-vaxxer movement and represent a health risk. Djokovic’s camp, naturally, appealed this decision. The courts, however, would sustain the revocation of his visa and compel him to be deported this time around.
Big betting sites such as William Hill Canada, now place Daniil Medvedev as the current favourite to win the title now that Djokovic’s perch at the top of the tennis odds board has been replaced by the favourite from Russia, who now holds 7/5 odds based on Betsafe Canada. Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev (13/5) and Rafael Nadal (8/1) now follow to round out the top 3 of the highly-anticipated event.
A year ago, Medvedev became the most recent grand slam winner when he upset Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win the 2021 US Open championship. He also finished second to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open finals last year.
When it comes to the women’s draw, Emma Raducanu stands at 40/1 but is poised to win her second straight Grand Slam and once again defy the odds. Sloane Stephens, the 4/5 favourite to beat the youngster, awaits the British in the first round.
A repeat Grand Slam championship win for Raducanu after his remarkable ascension to the top in New York last year is thus not expected. Naomi Osaka (6/1) and Ashleigh Barty (11/4) are the bookmakers’ favourites to win in Melbourne, according to the odds. We have listed Betfair’s current odds chart below for your reference.
Alexander Zverev: 13/5
Rafael Nadal: 8/1
Stefanos Tsitsipas: 14/1
Andrey Rublev: 17/1
Jannik Sinner: 22/1
Andy Murray: 80/1
Cameron Norrie: 80/1
Ashleigh Barty: 11/4
Naomi Osaka: 6/1
Iga Swiatek: 11/1
Garbine Muguruza: 12/1
Simona Halep: 12/1
Anett Kontaveit: 13/1
Barbora Krejcikova: 18/1
Emma Raducanu: 40/1