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Nadal sorry for Djokovic over denial to Australia

Rafael Nadal says he feels sorry for Novak Djokovic after he was denied entry to Australia, but added the world number one could be playing “without a problem” if he had wanted to.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 22, 2020, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic attends an open air press conference in Belgrade. – Djokovic has pulled out of the ATP Cup in Sydney, organisers said on December 29, 2021, amid speculation about his vaccination status and whether he will defend his Australian Open title. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)

Rafael Nadal says he feels sorry for Novak Djokovic after he was denied entry to Australia, but added the world number one could be playing “without a problem” if he had wanted to.

Djokovic was due to defend his Australian Open title but had his visa revoked on arrival in Melbourne.

The Serb’s vaccine exemption to play in Australia has caused controversy.

Djokovic, who has previously said he is opposed to vaccination, has had his deportation delayed until Monday.

The 34-year-old is being held in a government detention hotel, his lawyers have lodged an urgent appeal before the delay to deportation was confirmed.

The tournament starts on 17 January.

“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, 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 a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.”

Djokovic could “fix” the issue immediately by explaining to border authorities why he is medically exempt, according to MP for Australia’s governing Liberal Party Warren Entsch.

Entsch told BBC Radio 5 Live that Djokovic would have applied for his visa on the basis he “had a legitimate medical reason”.

“It’s not unreasonable for the authorities to check the veracity of that claim,” he explained.

“It doesn’t need to be made public, but they’ve got to see that the visa that was issued – there is a legitimate reason for that.”

Djokovic was held at Melbourne airport for several hours before border officials announced he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for entry and would be deported.

Culled from BBCSports

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