RAFAEL NADAL has spoken directly on the uncertainty surrounding Novak Djokovic’s tennis career.
Rafael Nadal has warned Novak Djokovic of the effect not getting vaccinated will have on his professional tennis career. Djokovic maintains he will not receive vaccination against COVID-19 purely so he can play in major tennis events. The world No 1 has already missed the Australian Open and his participation at this year’s French Open and Wimbledon is in doubt
Nadal took advantage of Djokovic’s absence by winning in Melbourne in January.
The Spaniard has overtaken the Serbian and fellow rival Roger Federer as having won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other male player in the history of the sport.
Nadal says Djokovic will be welcomed to major events where vaccination is not a requirement.
But the 35-year-old adds Djokovic must live by his decisions if that is not the case in the near future.
“It will affect Novak’s career if he can’t play,” Nadal told reporters.
“It will affect himself, but not the Grand Slams. Whoever wins the most Slams, whatever it is.
“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.”
Nadal was speaking at a press conference ahead of this week’s Mexican Open.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion explained why he chose to participate at the event after his Australian Open triumph.
Nadal said: “For two reasons. One, because I have played very little in the last two years and because I feel like playing tennis.
“The second, because after Australia, I had to analyze how my body would respond, because always, historically, after Australia, I noticed a physical downturn. This year was similar.
“I did not notice the downturn right away, but it came a little later.
At the pain level, my body was responding relatively well, after what happened and that led me to make the decision to come.
“My start to the year has been infinitely better than I could imagine.”