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Factbox: Israeli genocidal war on Gaza Ė What has happened so far?             Israeli attacks on Gaza kill 700 Palestinians in 24 hours            Iran FM: USí supportive policies encourage Zionist regime to continue massacre of civilians in Gaza             Everything in Gaza is at breaking point: ICRC             US sends deadly bunker buster bombs to Israel for Gaza war            Israel pulls back negotiating team from Qatar, as truce talks hit Ďdead endí             Israeli attack kills over 100 Palestinians in Gaza refugee camp             Erdogan says Netanyahu, íthe butcher of Gazaí, must be tried in ICC            Israel kills 2 IRGC military advisors in strike on Syria             Taliban De-Persianizing Afghanistan Culture: Roots and Ramifications             Afghanistan: Armed attack in Shia-populated region of Herat 5 killed             Israelis Stealing Body Organs of Palestinians Killed in War: European Monitor            Resistance vows to give Israel harsher response if Gaza war resumes: Iran             íThis is a war on children,í UNICEF warns after Israel resumes bombing Gaza             Political figures criticize UN report for alleged Ďwhitewashingí of Taliban, demand accountability            


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Djokovic named in ítemporaryí Australian Open draw as visa row rages on

World number one Novak Djokovic was confirmed in the Australian Open draw at a delayed ceremony on Thursday even though the Serb’s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title could yet be cancelled by Australian authorities.

The 34-year-old defending champion was bracketed to play unseeded fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at Melbourne Park after organizers delayed the draw for more than an hour without explanation.

Tournament director Craig Tiley declined to take questions at the end of the subdued ceremony, with Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still weighing whether to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time after it was canceled on his arrival at Melbourne airport.

Djokovic’s inclusion in the draw was greeted with skepticism on social media, with fans predicting organizers would have to do another draw before the tournament starts on Monday.

The buildup to the year’s first Grand Slam has been completely dominated by the visa saga.

Top seed Djokovic, a vaccine septic, was given a medical exemption to play without COVID-19 vaccination but Australian Border Force officials decided the exemption was invalid.

He was then detained for several days before being freed on Monday after winning a court case.

If Australia declines to move against Djokovic again, the Serb has a reasonably smooth path to the second week of the Grand Slam, with seventh seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini looming as a potential quarter-final opponent.

After missing out on several days’ training while detained, Djokovic practised on Rod Laver Arena’s center court on Thursday in front of media for the first part of the session.

"Obviously his preparation is beyond bad," his former coach Boris Becker told the BBC this week.

"I don’t think he’s ever been in a worse position entering the week before a Grand Slam, but that’s just the way it is."

Sixth seed Rafa Nadal, who is level with Djokovic on 20 Grand Slam titles along with the absent Roger Federer, will open his campaign against unseeded American Marcos Giron.

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev, who was thrashed by Djokovic in last year’s final before turning the tables on the Serb in the US Open decider, will play Swiss Henri Laaksonen.

Third seed and Olympic champion Alex Zverev meets fellow German Daniel Altmaier.

In the women’s draw, top seed and home hero Ash Barty will start her bid for a maiden Australian Open title against a qualifier.

Champion Naomi Osaka, seeded 13th, will begin her title defense against Colombia’s Camila Osorio.

In a match of Grand Slam title winners, British US Open champion Emma Raducanu faces a tough opener against American Sloane Stephens.

(Source: Reuters)

 

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