Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal acknowledged Novak Djokovic could have played the Australian Open without a problem but he decided to go on a different path.
Djokovic refused to get fully vaccinated and instead applied for a medical exemption.
Djokovic was detained at the Melbourne Airport for nine hours and his visa was denied after he failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.
“I think if he (had) wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem,” Nadal said, per Tennis Majors. “He went through another…he made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.
“Of course I don’t like the situation that is happening. In some way I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.”
Nadal fully vaccinated and ready to play the Australian Open
“I went through the COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here. That’s the only clear thing. The only for me clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion have been suffering enough to not follow the rules,” Nadal added.
Nadal also said he understands the frustration of people in Australia.
“(It) seems some rough situation, but at the end of the day the only thing that I can say is we have been going through very challenging and a lot of families have been suffering a lot during the last two years with all the pandemic,” he said.
“It’s normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the case because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns, and a lot of people were not able to come back home.”