Rafael Nadal warns Novak Djokovic he knew the rules amid Australian Open detention

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·3-min read
Rafael Nadal warns Novak Djokovic he knew the rules amid Australian Open detention
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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
  • Rafael Nadal
    Rafael Nadal
    Spanish tennis player

Rafael Nadal has warned Novak Djokovic that he knew the potential consequences of not getting vaccinated amid his detention in Melbourne.

The world No1 has been told he can stay in his hotel quarantine room in the city until Monday, when a final appeal will be heard over his ability to enter the country for the Australian Open.

Djokovic had announced he had been given a medical exemption to travel to Australia for the tournament but his visa was rejected on entry as it did not meet the necessary criteria.

And while Nadal said he had sympathy for his rival, he also said the rules had been clear cut for the opening Grand Slam of the season.

“Of course, I don’t like the situation that is happening,” he said. “In some ways, I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.”

Djokovic had posted a photograph of himself on social media heading to Melbourne for the defence of his Australian Open title after being given the necessary medical exemption.

But border officials rejected his entry and the Australian Government refused to intervene amid a hefty backlash to that exemption, the details of which have not yet been made public.

Nadal, who is double vaccinated but tested positive for Covid-19 on his return home from his comeback tournament in Abu Dhabi last month, said: “Seems some rough situation.

“It’s normal that people here in Australia get frustrated with the case because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns, and a lot of people were not able to come back home.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“I believe in what the people who know about medicine say and, if people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine.

“That’s my point of view. I went through Covid, I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here. The only for me clear thing is that if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”

Djokovic is currently holed up in his quarantine hotel in Melbourne as lawyers argue his case and Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic also got involved in the ensuing diplomatic row.

Vucic has spoken to Djokovic and said that “the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately”.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Even if Djokovic is cleared to compete, former world No1 Rod Laver warned the backlash for the tournament favourite would be huge.

“I think it might get ugly,” said the Australian. “I’d think the Victorian people would be thinking ‘yes, I’d love to see him play and compete but, at the same time, there’s a right way and a wrong way’.”

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