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Why Rublev would benefit if Djokovic withdraws – Australian Open rules explained

We go through the rules of the tournament to explain what will happen if there is no Djokovic when the tournament starts

Novak Djokovic Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practises at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022 (Panoramic)

If Novak Djokovic is forced to withdraw from the Australian Open now, it will be Andrey Rublev who benefits.

That’s because the Official Grand Slam rule book provided by the ITF states that following the draw, if any of the four top seeds pull out, then the fifth seed will take their place on that line, with the 17th seed moving up to fill the fifth seed’s place. The 17th seed’s place will then be taken by the next highest ranked player eligible to be seeded.

In this case, it is the Russian who is seeded fifth. France’s Gael Monfils is the 17th seed. The next highest ranked player after that is Alexander Bublik.

Djokovic is currently due to play his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

Rublev is drawn to play Italy’s Gianluca Mager, while Monfils is set to face Argentina’s Federico Coria.

If Djokovic plays any of his matches and then has to withdraw, his opponent would get a walkover victory as is usual procedure.

There has still been no decision made by the Australian government about whether or not Djokovic will be able to compete in Melbourne or whether his visa will be cancelled.

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