MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan 17 – Rafael Nadal said “justice had spoken” Monday but that Novak Djokovic was not the only one to blame for the “mess” that overshadowed the Australian Open.
The Spanish great also said that he would have preferred it if his rival and defending champion Djokovic had been playing in the first Grand Slam of the year.
The Serbian world number one jetted out of Australia on the eve of the showpiece having lost a drawn-out legal battle to reinstate his visa after it was cancelled over his coronavirus vaccination status.
Djokovic won a first court case, but lost a decisive second one on Sunday, and Nadal said he was “tired” of talking about it.
“Almost one week ago when he won in the first instance, the case, he was able to get back his visa and was practising. I said the justice have spoke,” Nadal said after cruising into the Australian Open second round.
“If the justice says his visa is valid and he’s able to play here, the justice has spoken, so that’s the fairest thing, that he deserve to play here.
“Yesterday the justice said another thing. I will never be against what the justice says.”
After being detained on arrival in Melbourne, the unvaccinated Djokovic spent five days in immigration detention before being released to train at Melbourne Park.
But he was then detained again ahead of being ordered out of the country.
“I think the situation has been a mess,” said Nadal.
“He’s not the only one that did probably things bad in that case. Of course, there is more responsible in all this terrible situation that we faced for the last two weeks,” he said.
“But of course he is one of those responsible.”
Nadal is one of the main beneficiaries of Djokovic not being at the Australian Open to defend his title with both players gunning to be the first man in history to win 21 Grand Slams.
Despite this, Nadal added: “The ideal situation in the world of sport is that the best players are on court and playing the most important events, without a doubt.
“If Novak Djokovic is playing here, is better for everybody, no doubt about that.”