Novak Djokovic in Draw, Emma Raducanu Plays Sloane Stephens

Novak Djokovic remains in the Australian Open draw as the decision over whether the defending champion can stay in the country drags on.

The nine-time Australian Open champion has been drawn against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic.

Britain’s US Open champion Emma Raducanu, seeded 17th, faces American world number 68 Sloane Stephens, the 2017 champion at the New York major.

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam of the 2022 season and starts at Melbourne Park on Monday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a news conference to update the country about the coronavirus pandemic at 3:45 pm, although he declined to say when a decision about Djokovic might be made.

Top seed Djokovic, 34, practised again at Melbourne Park earlier on Thursday, with Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke still considering whether to revoke his visa again and throw him out of the country.

The world number one is hoping to win a record-extending 10th Australian Open men’s title which would be his 21st Grand Slam triumph, moving him clear of Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and had his visa revoked when he arrived in Australia last week, following questions over the vaccine exemption that would have permitted him to enter.

However, on Monday a judge dramatically overturned the decision and ordered his release from an immigration detention hotel after finding those border officials had not followed proper procedure.

On Wednesday, Djokovic admitted to meeting a L’Equipe journalist on 18 December despite knowing he had tested positive for Covid, as well as there being mistakes on his immigration forms.

What happened in the rest of the draws?

Britain’s former world number one Andy Murray was drawn against 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili – a day after beating the Georgian in the Sydney Tennis Classic.

British men’s number one Cameron Norrie, seeded 12th, faces talented American Sebastian Korda, while 24th seed Dan Evans plays Belgium’s David Goffin.

Heather Watson, who is the only other British woman to have directly qualified for the main draw, takes on Egypt’s Mayar Sherif.

Harriet Dart and Liam Broady could increase the British contingent in the singles if they win matches in the final qualifying round on Friday.

Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty starts her quest for a first home Grand Slam title against a qualifier while defending champion Naomi Osaka opens against Colombia’s Camila Osorio.

Top seed Barty could face Japan’s Osaka, seeded 13th as she returns after a four-month break from the sport, in the fourth round.

In the men’s draw, Spanish sixth seed Nadal starts against unseeded American Marcos Giron.

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev, who lost to Djokovic in last year’s final but beat the Serb to win the US Open title, will play Swiss Henri Laaksonen.

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