It’s Nadal vs. Djokovic — but not on the tennis court.
But Nadal, speaking Thursday after winning a match at the Melbourne Summer Set ATP 250 tournament, told reporters that Djokovic knew the risks.
“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,” Nadal said. Djokovic “makes his own decision,” he added.
Nadal said that he believes “in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine,” before pointedly adding, “If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here.”
“If you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere,” he added.
Djokovic, 34, who won the Australian Open last year, was detained by officials at the airport amid growing outrage over a decision to award the athlete a visa and medical exemption from vaccination requirements.
“Rules are rules, and there are no special cases,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters Thursday, as he thanked border officers and confirmed that Djokovic’s visa had been canceled.
“Our government’s strong border protection policies, and particularly in relation to the pandemic, [have ensured] Australia has one of the lowest death rates of covid anywhere in the world,” he said.