Rafael Nadal news: Spaniard would ‘welcome’ Novak Djokovic if he can play Slams without being vaccinated

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal talks to the press

Rafael Nadal insists Novak Djokovic “is welcome” to return to Grand Slam tennis without being vaccinated if the rules allow it, adding that the Serbian’s continued absence from majors will only “affect his own story”.

Djokovic was unable to defend his Australian Open title in January after he was deported from the country due to his vaccination stance and Nadal went on to win the trophy to become the first man to win 21 Grand Slams.

There are still question marks over Djokovic’s participation in the three remaining Grand Slams of the 2022 although Wimbledon officials have indicated that he is likely to be allowed to play at the All England Club despite being unvaccinated.

Novak Djokovic news: World No 1 will be allowed to play at Wimbledon despite vaccination stance

Nadal, who has been quite outspoken about Djokovic’s decision not to get inoculated against Covid-19 in the past, was asked how the history of Grand Slams will be affected if the Serbian misses more majors.

“It will affect your story if you can’t play,” he is quoted as saying by puntodebreak.com. “It will affect himself, but not the Grand Slams.

“Everyone makes their own decisions and must live with them. In that sense, hopefully the pandemic subsides and there are no longer so many deaths in the world and that this horror ends and, with it, that it can return to normality, but not for Novak, but for the world in general.

“There are many people who have suffered with this, but if Novak can play the Slams without being vaccinated, he is welcome.”

The 35-year-old was also asked about how his life has changed since lifting a 21st Grand Slam title.

“Absolutely nothing with 21, I’m not going to lie to you. From 20 to 21 there is not a very large percentage,” he said.

“Life goes on exactly the same. The only thing that has changed is that now I play tennis, which a few months ago I couldn’t.

“I am very happy for everything that happened in Australia, it was very unexpected, especially before the tournament started. In my life, nothing has changed. No title is going to change what is important in my life, which are other things.

“Already, at 35 years old, there is a great experience behind, of successes and bad moments and these sensations one already lives in a more calm and different way.”