Nadal opens quest for 21st Slam as Djokovic faces ban – Australian Open overnight round-up

Djokovic set to be deported from Australia after losing visa appeal

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There was no Novak nor much sunshine on the first day of the Australian Open but the action is under way at the first Grand Slam of the season. And the first British player is already out.

Express Sport takes a look at what has happened so far on the opening day.

The male British No.1 is out

Cam Norrie won his first two ATP Tour events in 2021 and climbed up to world No.12.

But the Indian Wells champion, who contracted Covid before Christmas, lost all three singles matches at the ATP Cup in Sydney.

And Norrie today lost 6-3 6-0 6-4 to American world No.43 Seb Korda in only one hour and 42 minutes in the brand new Kia Arena.

Rising star Korda, who tested positive for Covid on his arrival Down Under, claimed his first ever win at the Australian Open.

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One defending champion appeared at Melbourne Park

While Novak Djokovic was pictured changing planes at Dubai Airport, Naomi Osaka was racing to a 5-0 lead against Camila Osorio of Colombia on her way to starting her title defence with a 6-3 6-3 victory.

The double Australian champion, who took a break from tennis after the US Open, said: It always feels special for me to come back here. I have a lot of really good memories here. It is always nice to start the year here.

“I thought I played pretty well given the circumstances. I didn’t have that much information on my opponent but I thought she played amazing.”

Osaka remains on course for a blockbuster fourth round clash with world No.1 Ash Barty who plays later.

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There is only man who can win a 21st Grand Slam title here

Rafa Nadal is the only former champion in the field this year without Novak Djokovic and the injured Roger Federer.

And the Spaniard began his bid to break the male record of Grand Slam wins with a 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over American Marcos Giron in the third match in the Rod Laver Arena.

The world No.6 played his first tournament since August in a Melbourne warm-up event and won his 89th ATP title after his foot injury and contracting Covid last month.

“The symptoms have not been nice. Four days in bed. If you told me I would have won in my first event back, I would have signed for that.

“The last few months have been tough being outside competition. Everyone knows I have had an important injury since the start of my career. Honestly there have been very tough moments with lots of doubts – and there are still doubts – but here I am and I couldn’t be happier to be back in Australia.”

New year, new colours

Naomi Osaka wore a Nike outfit with a-symmetric lines to represent the Melbourne skyline.

“I like the colour – I haven’t worn hot pink for a minute,” said the Japanese star.

But Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 18, made an even more startling fashion statement in his first match as a Grand Slam seed.

The 18-year-old wore an all-red kit including a sleeveless shirt in young Nadal style as he beat Chilean qualifier Alejando Tabilo 6-2 6-2 6-3.

One down, six to go

Cam Norrie was the only action today. But six Brits will be in action on Day 2, with two playing glamorous opening ties in the night session.

Emma Raducanu will play her first Grand Slam match as a Major champion against the 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the second night match in the Margaret Court Arena – the second court in Melbourne Park. That should be about 10-11am in the UK.

And qualifier Liam Broady faces Aussie Nick Kygrios in the last match in the John Cain Arena.

Andy Murray takes on No.21 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili on the same court earlier.

Djokovic has gone but the story is not going away

On the morning after the night before when the world No.1 was deported, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison left the door open for Novak Djokovic to compete at next year’s Australian Open.

The Serbian faces an automatic three-year ban from entering the country after losing his court case at the Federal Court yesterday.

Under immigration law, Djokovic cannot now be granted another visa for three years unless the Australian immigration minister accepts there are compelling or compassionate reasons.

But Morrison said Australia would consider any future application from the Serbian – if he ever wants to come back

“I’m not going to precondition any of that or say anything that would not enable the minister to make the various calls he has to make,” said the PM

“It does go over a three-year period, but there is the opportunity for [a person] to return in the right circumstances, and that will be considered at the time.”

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