Rafael Nadal welcomes Novak Djokovic appeal victory but hits out at ‘circus’ created ahead of Australian Open

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  • Rafael Nadal
    Rafael Nadal
    Spanish tennis player
  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has warned the build-up to the Australian Open has turned into “a circus”.

A judge ruled earlier on Monday that Novak Djokovic was eligible to enter Australia despite having previously been blocked by immigration officials and put into a detention hotel.

Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke has warned he could still intercede and cancel the world No1’s visa despite the ruling.

But Nadal said: “Whether or not I agree with Djokovic on some things, justice has spoken and has said that he has the right to participate in the Australian Open and I think it is the fairest decision to do so, if it has been resolved that way. I wish him the best of luck.”

The decision paved the way for Djokovic to defend his Australian Open title although his preparation has been far from ideal with just six days of training between now and the tournament start date next week.

Nadal has had a strong build-up to the opening grand slam of the year.

Returning from injury in Abu Dhabi before Christmas, he contracted Covid but won the Melbourne Summer series event, meaning he has won an ATP Tour event for each of the past 18 seasons.

Ahead of his return to the Australian Open, Nadal joked of Djokovic: “On a personal level, I’d much rather he didn’t play.”

But he added: “It’s sports, many interests move around it, on a general level, at an economic level, advertising level. Everything is much better when the best can be playing.”

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