Djokovic should clarify reasons for Australian Open medical exemption, says Toni Nadal

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
  • Toni Nadal
    Spanish tennis coach
  • Rafael Nadal
    Rafael Nadal
    Spanish tennis player

Novak Djokovic should clear up any doubts over the reasons for his medical exemption to play at the Australian Open, says Toni Nadal.

Tournament organisers have faced a backlash after it was announced this week that men's world number one Djokovic has been granted a medical exemption to play in the first grand slam of the year.

Protocols in Australia require proof that competitors and staff have been jabbed or have a medical exemption to compete at Melbourne Park. Djokovic has thus far refused to state whether he has been vaccinated.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that Djokovic would be on the "next plane home" if he fails to prove he is medically exempt, though tournament organiser Craig Tiley insisted the 20-time major champion had not been given a "special favour" to play.

Nadal, the uncle of Djokovic's long-term rival and also 20-time major victor Rafael Nadal, has now weighed in, expressing surprise the Serbian did not pull out of the tournament and urging him to clarify his situation.

In his column for El Pais, Nadal wrote: "I must admit that, until Tuesday's announcement, I thought that the Serbian player would give up participating in the tournament or that he would get the vaccine.

"The way I understand it, if you have requested and received an exemption then it's because you must not have been administered any of the authorised [vaccines].

"There are almost six million people who have lost their lives due to this damn virus and many other millions who have received the vaccine.

"I want to think that Novak is no stranger to all this and that he will clear up the doubts as a sign of human sensitivity and understanding."

The Australian Open begins on January 17.

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