Nadal 'happy' that Djokovic will play at Australian Open

Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal has welcomed the news that Novak Djokovic will be free to compete at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was at the centre of controversy in January following his attempts to play in this year's tournament in Melbourne despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19, and the 21-time grand slam winner was eventually deported after having his visa cancelled on public health grounds.

However, Djokovic recently confirmed he will be free to play in the 2023 Australian Open after his three-year ban from entering the country was overturned.

Nadal and Djokovic have dominated tennis along with the now-retired Roger Federer for much of the last two decades, and the Spaniard was pleased to hear of his rival's availability to compete.

"I always said the same; tennis is better when the best players are on the court," he said. "At the end we don't have to create many stories. Even if it was a big mess what happened last year in Australia, it was not good for our sport.

"That was the past. Roger is not playing any more. I missed a lot of grand slams [with] injuries. Last year, Novak was not able to play there.

"That's the past. What's next is Novak will be able to play again. That's the best news possible, especially knowing that now the virus is more under control it seems around the world. So why not? Happy for him. Happy for the tournament. Happy for the fans. That's it."

Nadal beat Casper Ruud in his final game at the ATP Finals on Thursday.