'I feel sorry for him': Rafael Nadal on Novak Djokovic's vaccine exemption controversy

The 20-time Grand Slam champion gave his opinion on the controversy surrounding the Serbian at the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic in a file photo; Credit: [email protected]

Tennis-ace Rafael Nadal came out in the open to be the latest to voice his opinion about the controversy surrounding one of his arch-rivals Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. The Serbian’s title defence has landed in jeopardy as his visa to enter Australia was revoked upon his arrival in Melbourne, amid a huge backlash over a vaccine exemption. The border officials notified that he had not met the entry rules enforced in Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The World No.1 was later deported to a government detention hotel with further implications set to be decided by a court on Monday. 

Nadal feels that his rival, who was carrying a medical exemption to get around a COVID-19 vaccine requirement at the hard-court tournament, is responsible for his own decisions amid the pandemic. The Spaniard also mentioned that he feels sorry for the situation he has been put in. 

“I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem,” Nadal said, following victory at a warm-up tournament in Melbourne.

‘He made his own decisions’

“He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take 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 since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.”

However, the MP for Australia’s governing Liberal Party Warren Entsch, has voiced that Djokovic could fix his situation by explaining his medical exemption to the border authorities. 

Read More – Australian Open: Novak Djokovic’s entry into the state delayed

No one above the law

The country’s prime minister Scott Morrison, meanwhile, clarified that no one stands above the law in place to safeguard Australia from further stranglehold of the dreaded virus. 

“In accordance with our Government’s strong border protection policies, Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. As I set out yesterday, rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders,” the Australian PM said in a Facebook post. 

“Our Government will always ensure that our border policies are enforced. These policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID.

“We were one of the first countries in the world to move on our borders at the start of the pandemic, and we are continuing to be vigilant.

“My thanks to our Australian Border Force officers and Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews for doing their job of keeping our borders secure,” he added. 

It remains to be seen if Djokovic finds a way to enter the Grand Slam, starting on January 17. 

Sportslumo Desk

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