Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ST web

Picture Credit: Twitter

All eyes are still at Novak Djokovic with the way things have panned out with his participation still being a very big question in the Australian Open. In a recent turn of events, the Australian Government chose to be fair and in the best interest of the masses decided to cancel his visa for a second time. Novak chose the legal way out and was fighting in court to feature as an unvaccinated player.

In the events that followed Novak Djokovic's deportation saga, his rival, Rafael Nadal further makes an interesting dig at Djokovic's participation in the Australian Open. Nadal mentioned, "The Australian Open is much more important than anyone player." Further slyly adding that "Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him."

I respect Djokovic even if I don’t agree with a lot of the things that he did: Nadal

However, Rafael Nadal admitted that he respected Novak Djokovic both as a person and an athlete. But the Spaniard added: “I really respect him, even if I don’t agree with a lot of the things that he did the last couple of weeks."

The Australian Open begins on 17th January and Nadal was of the strong opinion that everyone should be focusing on discussing the game, not just one player. He felt Novak's incident had been dragged on for way too long. "I think the situation has gone too far. Honestly, I'm a little bit tired of the situation because I just believe that it's important to talk about our sport, about tennis," Nadal said.

Djokovic, the world number one, top seed, and three-time defending champion will be playing for an incredible 10th title at Melbourne Park - as well as a men's record 21st Grand Slam singles title if at all he gets to play, the chances of which seem remote.  Nadal, meanwhile, is also chasing Slam title No.21, with the Spaniard and the Serb currently inseparable having each won 20 major trophies.

The Australian Government also wanted to make sure to conduct the event in a "covid-safe" manner for which they have released a list of stricter norms to be followed by spectators.