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Salvatore Caruso replaces Novak Djokovic in Australian Open

A slightly less heralded tennis player from Italy gets the call.

Salvatore Caruso of Italy reacts during his men’s singles round of 32 match against Alexandre Muller of France during day four of the 2022 Bendigo International at Fosterville Gold Tennis Centre on January 05, 2022 in Bendigo, Australia. Photo by Martin Keep/Getty Images

The Novak Djokovic saga has come to a close and the tennis star has officially been deported from Australia. Djokovic was deported on Sunday and will not play in the 2022 Australian Open. A deportation order usually includes a three-year ban, which would prevent him from returning to the Australian Open until he is 37.

With his departure, the tournament is ready to begin. Rather than advance his qualifier opponent into the second round, the tournament advanced a loser from qualifying into the main tournament. 29-year old Salvatore Caruso, ranked No. 150 in the world, got the call on Sunday and will face Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round. Caruso is the “lucky loser,” which is a term for a sports competitor who who loses a match in qualifying, but is able to enter the main draw because another competitor had to withdraw.

A year ago, Caruso played in the tournament and lost in the second round to No. 19 seed Fabio Fognini. Caruso’s best Grand Slam performances were third round appearances at the 2019 French Open and the 2020 US Open. He has no career tournament wins.