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Rafael Nadal has reiterated his criticism of those who have chosen not to be vaccinated, saying the decision “seems a bit selfish”.
Nadal, who said he was vaccinated at the earliest opportunity, is expected to return at the Australian Open next year but confusion reigns over the participation of players who have thus far refused the jab.
Discussions between officials in Victoria and the Australian government are ongoing as to whether unvaccinated players will be granted visas for 2022’s first grand slam, casting doubt over the participation of defending champion Novak Djokovic.
In an interview with Marca, Nadal said: “I understand that there are people who do not want to be vaccinated, but it seems a bit selfish to me,” he said. “We have suffered a lot.”
“We do not know 100 per cent the effects of vaccines, but we do have to trust the doctors… we do know the effect of the virus if we are not vaccinated.
“It seems that today we [Spain] are the country that is least affected by the virus and I think it is because we have a large part of the population vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, Nadal’s oldest rival, Roger Federer, was effectively ruled out of the tournament by his coach, Ivan Ljubicic, as the 40-year-old continues his recovery from knee surgery.
Federer has not competed since losing in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in July but remains hopeful of making a comeback in 2022.
“I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now,” Ljubicic told Stats Perform. “I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100%.
“He will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”