Rafael Nadal is already tired of talking about unvaccinated Novak Djokovic ahead of the Australian Open.
Nadal is participating in his first Grand Slam since Roland-Garros in June due to a foot injury. He shrugged on Saturday when asked about the controversy surrounding Djokovic, the defending champion who faces exclusion from the tournament and deportation from the country over visa issues due to his refusal to abide by the rules Australian vaccinations for COVID-19.
“Honestly, I’m a bit tired of the situation,” Nadal told reporters in Melbourne. “The Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he plays, well, OK.
“If he doesn’t play, the Australian Open will be a great Australian Open, with or without him. That’s my view.”
Nadal and Djokovic are tied with Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles each, the most by a male player in tennis history. Nadal is fully vaccinated, although he tested positive for COVID-19 in December.
A panel of federal judges in Australia will decide on Sunday whether Djokovic, 34 – who is due to play his first-round match on Monday – will be sent off without taking part in the event.
“I wish him all the best,” Nadal, 35, added of Djokovic. “I really respect him, even though I [do] disagree with a lot of things he’s done in recent weeks.