Nadal on Djokovic: 'The Australian Open is much more important than any player'

Rafael Nadal commented this Saturday on the administrative detention of Novak Djokovic in Australia. While claiming to have a lot of respect for the Serb, the Spaniard believes he disagrees with him on “a lot of things”.

“The Australian Open is much more important than any player.” This is the message that Rafael Nadal wanted to convey on Saturday about Novak Djokovic, who is waging a legal battle against his expulsion from Australia. “The Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him,” the Spanish champion told the media from Melbourne Park, two days before the start of this Grand Slam tournament.

Djokovic, world number one, is still in the table to defend his title but he was returned to administrative detention Saturday in Melbourne after the cancellation of his visa for the second time by the Australian government. This new episode in a saga that began on January 5, when Djokovic was turned away upon his arrival in Melbourne, makes it increasingly unlikely that the Serb from 34 will participate. years at the Australian Open, which kicks off on Monday.

“I don’t agree with a lot of things he’s done”

Nadal said he respects Djokovic “as a person, of course, and as an athlete, no doubt”. “I really respect him, even if I don’t agree with a lot of things he’s done in the last two weeks,” the 35-year-old Spaniard added. , a few hours after the return to the detention center of “Djoko” in Melbourne. The Serb wins a Grand Slam title, which would be a new record, with one unit more than Roger Federer and Nadal himself.

The Japanese Naomi Osaka, 13 world, for her part described the Djokovic saga as “regrettable” and “sad”. While acknowledging that he does not know the Serb well, Osaka says he is sad that “this great player” is remembered for this case rather than his exploits on the courts. “But I also think it’s not up to the tennis players, it’s up to the government to decide how Australia is going to handle this,” added the player while calling the case “regrettable”. Asked if she thought that the player’s legal tussle to stay in Australia could have an impact on him, the Japanese, who is experiencing psychological difficulties, replied: “Honestly, I don’t. don’t know so well”.