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Australian Open 2022: Nadal speaks on Djokovic visa controversy; feels vaccine only way to stop pandemic

'The world has been suffering enough to not follow the rules,' said Nadal after Djokovic's visa was cancelled by Australian authorities after 8-hour detention at the Melbourne airport.

Edited by: India TV Sports Desk Melbourne Updated on: January 06, 2022 15:26 IST
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

File photo of Rafael Nadal (in white) with Novak Djokovic.


  • Nadal feels Djokovic could have played in Australian Open without any problems but made his decision
  • Nadal added that in someway he feels sorry for Djokovic for the mess he is in now
  • Nadal showed complete trust in vaccination saying it allows you to play anywhere in this world

Speaking on Novak Djokovic visa cancellation controversy, his long-time rival Rafael Nadal said that everyone is free to make their own decisions but there are consequences attached to it. The 20-time Grand Slam winner from Spain has confirmed that he had no problem in arriving in Australia as he was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic has decided to mount a legal challenge to his visa cancellation by Australia. The defending Australian Open champion had to spend eight hours in detention at Melbourne Airport where he unsuccessfully pleaded his case to border officials. 

"I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia at the Australian Open without a problem. He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences," Sydney Morning Herald quoted Nadal as saying.

"Of course, I don't like the situation that is happening. In some way, I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision."

The defending Australian Open champion now may be ordered to leave Melbourne as early as Thursday evening as Australian Border Force has stated that he failed to provide appropriate evidence to enter Australia.

As per the guidelines, the evidence must be presented at the border by people who are unvaccinated for COVID-19. Australia on Thursday cancelled world number one Novak Djokovic's visa to enter the country, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed.

"It's normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the case because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns. A lot of people were not able to come back home," said Nadal.

"After a lot of people have been dying for two years my feeling is with the vaccine, it's the only way to stop this pandemic. The only for me clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion have been suffering enough to not follow the rules."

Earlier, Djokovic had landed in Australia citing a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. The particular vaccine exemption which Djokovic cited created a huge controversy and it received backlash from the Australian public.

Meanwhile World No. 2 and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev said Djokovic should be allowed if it was a fair exemption from the rule, else he shouldn't be playing the Grand Slam.

“If he had a fair exemption from the rule, well, he should be here; if he didn’t, he shouldn’t be here," said Medvedev.

(Reported by ANI and inputs from AP)


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