Djokovic Gets Little Sympathy From Nadal Over Expulsion Order
(Bloomberg) -- Rafael Nadal expressed little sympathy for Novak Djokovic after Australian authorities said they would deport the Serbian tennis champion over his vaccination status.
While stopping short of explicitly criticizing his peer, Nadal -- who along with Djokovic and Roger Federer boasts a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles -- said the world has “been suffering enough” and most have adhered to Covid-19 measures. Nadal plans to play in the Australian Open, which Djokovic had also hoped to contest.
“In some way I feel sorry for him, but at the same time, he knew the conditions” for months, Nadal told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday in English. “He makes his own decision.”
Nadal, a Spanish national who is twice-vaccinated and had Covid, did express sympathy for the frustration felt by Australians, who have been subject to strict lockdowns and whose authorities imposed stringent entry rules during the pandemic.
“If you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere,” Nadal said.
Djokovic, who has won the tournament in Melbourne a record nine times, including the past three, offered insufficient proof to enter the country under current rules, the Australian Border Force said Thursday. While he was earlier granted an exemption to enter the state of Victoria, federal authorities revoked that after officials questioned the athlete for hours at Melbourne Airport.
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