MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal took a swipe at rival Novak Djokovic on Saturday because the world primary fights deportation from Australia, saying: “The Australian Open is much more important than any player.”
Ahead of the beginning of the primary Grand Slam on Monday, Nadal informed reporters at Melbourne Park: “Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him.”
Djokovic continues to be within the draw to defend his title however faces deportation from the nation earlier than then after the Australian authorities cancelled his visa for a second time, calling him a menace to public order.
The long-running saga over whether or not the unvaccinated Serbian can keep within the nation has overshadowed the primary Grand Slam of the 12 months, the place Djokovic and Nadal would each be attempting to turn out to be the primary man to win 21 majors.
Nadal mentioned he revered Djokovic “as a person, of course, and as an athlete, without a doubt”.
But the Spaniard added: “I really respect him, even if I don’t agree with a lot of the things that he did the last couple of weeks.”
And he mentioned that the controversy had dragged on too lengthy.
“I think the situation have been too far. Honestly I’m a little bit tired of the situation because I just believe that it’s important to talk about our sport, about tennis,” Nadal mentioned.