Says tournament will be great with and without him
AFP – Posted: Jan 15, 2022 | Last Updated: 27 mins ago
Posted: Jan 15, 2022 | Last Updated: 27 mins ago
Rafael Nadal took a
swipe at rival Novak Djokovic on Saturday as the world number one fights
deportation from Australia, saying: “The Australian Open is much more
important than any player.”
Ahead of the start of the first Grand Slam on Monday, Nadal
told reporters at Melbourne Park: “Australian Open will be a great
Australian Open with or without him.”
Djokovic is still in the draw to defend his title but faces
deportation from the country before then after the Australian government
cancelled his visa for a second time, calling him a threat to public order.
The long-running saga over whether the unvaccinated Serbian
can stay in the country has overshadowed the first Grand Slam of the year, where
Djokovic and Nadal would both be trying to become the first man to win 21
Nadal said he respected Djokovic “as a person, of
course, and as an athlete, without a doubt”.
But the Spaniard added: “I really respect him, even if
I don’t agree with a lot of the things that he did the last couple of
And he said that the controversy had dragged on too long.
“I think the situation have been too far. Honestly I’m
a little bit tired of the situation because I just believe that it’s important
to talk about our sport, about tennis,” Nadal said.
Novak Djokovic, Australia, Australian Open, Tennis, Nadal,