Rafael Nadal slams Novak Djokovic for refusing to vaccinate ahead of Australian Open
'If he wanted he would be playing here in Australia without a problem'
The 34-year-old Serbian tennis star was warned on multiple occasions that he would not be able to play in the tournament without proof of vaccination but has remained pro-choice since the pandemic began.
Novax Djoković will be deported tomorrow https://t.co/EHDumSxSJv
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) January 5, 2022
Despite being granted exemption initially - much to the chagrin of players and the public alike - he has now had his visa revoked and is waiting to fly back home. Meanwhile, fierce competitor Nadal has come out to comment on the situation.
Speaking after his victory against Ričardas Berankis at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament, Nadal starting by saying: "It seems a rough situation, but at the end of the day the only thing that I can say is we have been going through very challenging times and a lot of families have been suffering a lot during the last two years with the pandemic."
He went on to say that he understood frustration in Australia given their current lockdown restrictions but that from his point of view, it's simple: "the only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people says that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine."
The 34-year-old then went on to reveal that he, like so many others, had been through covid but that he had also had both of his jabs, noting that above all else, "the only clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world, in my opinion, has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.’
When asked if he had any sympathy for Djokovic's current dilemma, Nadal admitted that he doesn't like the situation and "in some way I feel sorry for him but at the same time he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he has made his own decision", adding: "I think if he wanted he would be playing here in Australia without a problem."
At present, Djokovic's team are appealing the decision but the meeting has now been adjourned until Monday. The Serb must now wait in a quarantine hotel to find out if he can defend his Open title which would take him beyond joint-record holders Nadal and Federer.
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