Rafael Nadal frustrated as Novak Djokovic visa saga continues to overshadow Australian Open

Rafael Nadal said the Australian Open would still be “fantastic” if Novak Djokovic was forced out, admitting he was “a little tired” of the controversy surrounding his opponent.

Djokovic’s participation in the season’s inaugural grand slam, which begins at Melbourne Park on Monday, remains uncertain after his visa was revoked for the second time on Friday night.

The Federal Court will hear his appeal against the visa revocation on Sunday at 9:30 AM AEST.

Nadal said Djokovic was no bigger than the Australian Open.

“[The] The Australian Open is more important than any player.”

“If he plays at the end, well. If he doesn’t play, [the] The Australian Open is going to be great, with or without it. that is my point of view “.

Nadal, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, said he believed he and Djokovic had a “good relationship”.

But Nadal said the men’s world number one had chosen his “path” by not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I wish him all the best. I really respect him, even if I [do] I don’t agree with a lot of the things he’s done in the past two weeks.”

Nadal said he hopes media attention will soon turn to the Australian Open.

“Honestly, I’m a little tired of the situation because I think it’s important to talk about our sport and tennis,” he said.

Men’s world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost the French Open final last year to Djokovic, also said he would prefer to talk about the next two weeks of tennis in Melbourne.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s been featured in pretty much every news outlet in the past two weeks,” he said.

“It’s been getting a lot of attention. Obviously a lot of people are talking about it. That’s why I’m here to talk about tennis.

“It’s got a lot of attention, like I said. Not enough tennis has been talked about in the last two weeks, which is a shame.”

De Minaur is ready to focus on tennis

Australia’s top seed Alex de Minaur said he was frustrated with the continued focus on Djokovic.

“This whole situation has put the spotlight on our competitors,” he said.

“It feels like it’s getting away from us competitors who just want to start.

“I’m just ready to put all of that behind me and focus on playing my tennis matches, kind of letting tennis do the talking.

“At the end of the day, tennis is an individual sport and we have all been here in Australia for a while preparing for this tournament.

“We all just want to get on with our things.”

De Minaur himself was ill with the COVID-19 virus last year, with his level and ranking deteriorating as he struggled to fully recover.

The men’s 32nd appeared to have little sympathy for Djokovic, saying he had made up his mind not to get vaccinated.

“The Australians have been through a lot,” de Minaur said. “There’s no secret about that.”

They went through very hard. They have done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders.

“we are here.”

Women’s title advocate Naomi Osaka was reluctant to talk about Djokovic when asked what she thought of his visa revocation.

“Frankly to me, in a way I don’t really think my thoughts matter,” she said.

“Even if I say what I think, I’ve seen people say one side, I’ve seen people say the other side. I also know that one person’s opinion won’t change anything, it’s just going to stir up controversy.”

“I think it’s an unfortunate situation. He’s a great player and it’s sad that some people might remember him in this way.

“But I also think it’s not up to the tennis players, it’s up to the government how Australia decides to deal with it.”

ABC / AAP

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