There was initially chatter that a decision would come on Djokovic before the bracket for the tournament was finalised on Thursday afternoon – and those suspicions grew when the draw was abruptly postponed just minutes before it’s scheduled start time.
Instead, it went ahead an hour or so later, with a resolution no closer.
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But when it was finally confirmed on Friday evening that Djokovic would not be allowed to stay in Australia, the timing will give organisers more than enough to time to change course.
If Djokovic’s appeal fails, fifth seed Andrey Rublev will move into his spot in the draw, 17th seed Gael Monfils will Rublev’s spot, and Alexander Bublik would be added as the 33rd seed, replacing Monfils. A lucky loser from the qualifiers takes the empty spot.
It’s a brilliant outcome for Rublev who was drawn in a tough portion of the draw, likely to play Marin Cilic and Felix Auger-Aliassime in rounds three and four before running into world number two Daniil Medvedev in the quarters.
Instead, he finds himself able to avoid any top-15 player until a possible quarter-final against world number seven Matteo Berrettini.
Of course, it’s not over until it’s over and unless Djokovic accepts his fate (or gets it overturned again), we won’t have a truly clear picture on what’s going to happen on Monday.
Should Djokovic somehow gain another stay of execution and then be barred from playing on Monday, a lucky loser would come straight into the world number one’s spot in the draw with everyone else staying as they are.
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