‘I disagree with many things he did’: Rafael Nadal criticizes rival Novak Djokovic and insists the Australian Open will be a success ‘with or without him’ as the Serb prepares to learn whether he will be allowed to play
- Novak Djokovic was initially allowed to travel to Australia on ‘exemption’
- His visa was revoked when border control was not satisfied with his application
- On appeal earlier this week, Djokovic was allowed to stay in the country
- He has since admitted to breaking quarantine rules to do an interview last month
- His visa was subsequently rejected for the second time on Friday and he faces deportation
- Rafael Nadal was critical of his old rival’s recent behaviour
Rafael Nadal has criticized the actions of the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the Serbian tennis star prepares for the prospect of not being able to defend his Australian Open title this month.
Djokovic has had a chaotic few weeks leading up to the tournament, having been initially given an ‘exemption’ from traveling to play in the first Grand Slam of the year.
However, his visa was then rejected when he landed in Australia, and despite winning his appeal against the decision, his visa has since been revoked for a second time by the country’s government who admitted to doing an interview after testing positive. tested for Covid-19 last month.
Novak Djokovic has been practicing, but his participation in Melbourne is questionable at the moment
The 34-year-old will find out at a hearing on Saturday at 10.30pm (UK time) whether he will be evicted just hours before the tournament kicks off.
Nadal is slated to play at Melbourne Park as he strives to further his lone triumph at the venue in 2009.
During his pre-tournament press conference, the Spanish icon emphasized that he had no ill feelings towards Djokovic, but admitted he was unimpressed by the choices his arch-rival had made in recent times.
‘Everyone chooses their way. I wish him all the best. I really respect him, even if I don’t agree with a lot of things he’s done over the past few weeks.” said Nadal.
Rafael Nadal questions Djokovic’s behavior ahead of Australian Open
Djokovic has won the tournament nine times, but will not be allowed to defend his title this year
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times and is currently tied with Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal believes Djokovic’s position in the sport cannot be questioned, but still expects the first major of 2022 to be a success even if the world’s leading men’s player is barred from participating.
“It is very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players in history, without a doubt. But there is no player in history more important than an event.
“Australian Open is far more important than any player. When he finally plays, okay. If he doesn’t play, the Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him,” he added.
For now, Djokovic will remain in the main draw pending the court’s ruling and will face compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round, if he is allowed to play.