In an interview with CNN on Saturday, the 35-year-old, who was in Melbourne ahead of next week’s Australian Open, appeared to express his frustration with the impact of Novak Djokovic’s back-and-forth visa saga on the tournament, calling it a “circus.” “
Australian border authorities detained Djokovic on Saturday morning, according to a court-ordered arrangement issued on Friday after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke revoked his visa for a second time.
The world No. 1 seed will now spend Saturday night in pre-immigration custody before facing a federal court hearing on Sunday morning, Australian time, in a last-ditch attempt to overturn the ruling.
Justifying his decision to revoke the tennis champ’s visa, Immigration Minister Hook said Djokovic’s continued presence in Australia could lead to “increased anti-vaccination sentiment” or even “civil unrest”, court filings show.
“I’m just a player who sees the circus from the outside. But like I said, I’m a little sick of this,” Nadal told CNN. “I think he’s gone too far. I wish Novak all the best. And that’s it, I want to play tennis.”
The former world number one is looking to add credit to the 20 majors – a record he shares with Roger Federer and Djokovic – when the tournament begins next week. Nadal confirmed that he has not seen or spoken to Djokovic in recent days.
When asked about the impact of Djokovic’s doubts about a vaccine on members of the public who view World No. 1 as a role model, Nadal said that while respecting his opponent, “people who are in a position to create, or can have influence on others should be.” responsible.”
“I respect him as a person. Of course, a lot as an athlete. Even if I don’t agree with his way of thinking about how to move forward in this pandemic,” Nadal said. “I really believe in vaccination … and when you make your decisions there are some consequences … we did a lot of things together. I think positive things for our sport and I wish him well,” Nadal said.
“What we are facing around the world is much more important than tennis and tennis players… Millions of people have already died and many families have been suffering from the consequences of this terrible (epidemic) for almost two years,” he added.
Nadal, returning from a foot injury, said the Australian Open would be “fantastic, with or without Novak Djokevic,” adding that nothing in the history of the sport is more important than the sport itself.