Djokovic's Australian Open return good for tennis, says rival Nadal

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Novak Djokovic's imminent return to the Australian Open will be good for tennis, according fellow great Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic arrived in Australia this week and will compete in the first of two Adelaide International tournaments before the opening grand slam of 2023 begins on January 16.

In January this year, the 21-time grand slam winner was deported from Australia after being prevented from participating at the last edition of the event, having initially been granted a medical exemption to enter the country despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

There were concerns Djokovic would then be banned from entering Australia again, but a change in border entry rules means travellers are no longer obliged to provide evidence of their vaccination status.

While Djokovic's presence may represent a blow to Nadal's hopes of defending the title he clinched in the Serbian's absence last year, the Spaniard is pleased to see him taking part.

"Novak is here, it's good for tennis, probably good for the fans," Nadal said. "Let's see. [Having the] best players on court is always better."

Meanwhile, 22-time grand slam champion Nadal saw his former long-time rival Roger Federer retire this year, but he is not looking to follow suit despite being plagued by injuries in recent months.

Asked whether his upcoming appearance at the Australian Open could be his last, the 36-year-old said: "As a professional, you never know. Hopefully not.

"I mean, when you are at the age of 36, you never know when it's going to be the last one. It's obvious, but I don't like to talk about that because I am not in that mood now.

"I'm just focused on trying to play at the highest level possible and giving myself a possibility to keep being competitive, to fight for anything.

"That's my goal now, I'm not thinking about it being my last time here. If that's the last time, let's try to enjoy it as much as possible and try to create something special.

"I am happy doing what I am doing. I'm looking forward to still doing this."