Australian Open: Tennis stars react to Novak Djokovic saga

As the players put in place their final preparations ahead of the Australian Open, all questions focused on the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“I think we all want to move on, no matter what, move on and focus on the cool aspect of starting a slam,” said two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza during the interview. a media day.

“I think all of this could have been avoided, like we all did, by getting vaccinated, doing whatever we had to do to come here to Australia.

“Everyone knew the rules very clearly. Just follow them and that’s it. I don’t think it’s that difficult.”

Muguruza, who reached the Australian Open final in 2020, fears the ongoing controversy will have a negative impact on the sport’s reputation.

Djokovic is currently being held by Australian authorities ahead of a court hearing on Sunday on his case to remain in the country.

On Friday, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke revoked the unvaccinated tennis champion’s visa for the second time, saying his presence in Australia could lead to “increased anti-vaccination sentiment” and even prompt protests. “civil unrest”.

“I don’t think it would help the tennis world or the players because in the end it’s a bit of a conflict all the time,” Muguruza added.

“It’s hard enough to make tournaments work and have the WTA and ATP Tours run country by country to create all this news, a lot.”

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“An unfortunate situation”

If Djokovic manages to make it to this year’s tournament, he will have the opportunity to claim a record 21st men’s Grand Slam title.

He currently shares the record with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but the latter claims the tournament will still be a success even if the Serb can’t play.

“I’m telling you one thing, it’s very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players in history, without a doubt,” Nadal told reporters. “But there is not a single player in history who is more important than an event, right?

Novak Djokovic is

“The Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he finally plays, OK. If he doesn’t play, the Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him . It’s my point of view.”

Djokovic thanked those who continued to support him throughout the ordeal, but some wonder if this situation will tarnish his legacy.

Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka says she was saddened by what she saw. “I think it’s an unfortunate situation,” she told reporters.

“He’s such a great player and it’s kind of sad that some people remember him that way.

“But I also think it’s not for the tennis players to decide, it’s for the government to decide how Australia decides to handle it.”

“These are their rules”

Daniil Medvedev, ranked 2nd in the world, ruined Djokovic’s quest to win a calendar grand slam – winning all four majors in the same calendar year – in 2021 when the Russian won the US Open final against the Serbian.

The pair could meet again in this year’s Australian Open final if the two progress that far, but Medvedev says the country’s rules must be followed.

“I want to say about the Novak situation that we are in Australia, it’s their rules,” he told reporters.

“But from what I know, again, if he has a valid exemption to be in this country and do whatever he wants, then he should play.

“If the exemption is not valid or something else is not valid, well, any country can deny your entry.”

The Australian Open is set to start on Monday, but whether Djokovic is in the draw is yet to be decided by a court.

CNN’s Jill Martin contributed reporting.

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