The Australian Open is more important than just one player and it will be a great tournament «with or without» Novak Djokovic, according to Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard has made it clear on several occasions that he does not agree with Djokovic’s resistance to covid-19 vaccination and the degree to which his ongoing visa battle has overshadowed the tournament is clearly a frustration to many.
Speaking at his pre-tournament press conference, Nadal said: «It is very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players in history, without a doubt. But there is no player in history who is more important than an event.»
«The Australian Open is much more important than any one player. If he eventually plays, that’s fine. If he doesn’t play, the Australian Open is going to be a great Australian Open with or without him.»
Djokovic has appealed against the decision to cancel his visa for the second time and a court hearing will take place on Sunday morning (22:30 GMT on Saturday), the day before he faces Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round. round.
The world number 1 issued a statement earlier this week admitting that he participated in an interview last month when he learned that he had tested positive for the virus, and each new development in the saga has drawn a lot of attention.
«When you come in, like any other tennis player, if you wanted to come to the country, you had to get vaccinated twice. It was up to him: his choices, his judgement.»
Alexander Zverev is usually one of Djokovic’s staunchest supporters on tour and believes the World No. 1 status has played against him.