Rafael Nadal’s sympathy for Novak Djokovic limited, saying ‘there are consequences’

Novak Djokovic looking ahead

Rafael Nadal’s sympathy for Novak Djokovic over his Australian visa debacle was in short supply on Thursday with the Spaniard insists the world No 1 “knew the conditions for several months”.

Djokovic’s hopes of defending his Australian Open crown are hanging by the slimmest of threads after he was denied entry into the country and his visa cancelled.

Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) regulations stipulate those entering must be fully vaccinated and the 20-time Grand Slam winner was granted an exemption based on the fact that he had Covid-19 in the past six months.

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As a result, Australian Border Force deemed that he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia”.

Djokovic has been sent to a quarantine hotel while his lawyers are fighting his deportation, but fellow tennis great Nadal was asked if he’d encourage Djokovic to get vaccinated and replied: “I don’t encourage anyone. I feel everyone has to do whatever feels good for them. But there are rules, and if you don’t want to get the vaccine, then you can have some trouble.

“A lot of people have been dying for the past two years, my feeling is the vaccine is the only way to stop this pandemic. That’s what the person who understands about this says and I am no one to create a different opinion.”

He was then asked if he feels sorry for Djokovic and if he wants to see the Serbian play at the Australian Open, or if thinks he should have known better.

“I don’t have an opinion on that. I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem,” he said.

“He went through another [route] – he made his own decisions and everybody is free to make 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 for several months so he makes his own decisions.”