The nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is skipping the season's opening Major for the first time since 2004! World no. 1 was deported from Australia on Sunday after a ten-day saga, ending his dreams of chasing the milestone tenth Melbourne Park crown.
Unvaccinated Djokovic had to leave Australia after judges upheld a decision by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel his visa on public health grounds. Novak's court battle was in the spotlight for over a week, leaving every other tennis news in the shade.
The other players were often asked about Novak, and his great rival Rafael Nadal spoke about the Serb following the first-round Australian Open win.
Rafael Nadal spoke about Novak Djokovic following his first win in Melbourne.
Nadal honestly explained he is a bit tired of Djokovic's story, supporting his colleague but refusing to say anything against the legal actions.
Rafa wished to see Novak in the main draw of one of the most significant tennis tournaments. Still, he reminded that the reality is different and that we all have to accept it. Nadal scored his 70th Australian Open victory with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Marcos Giron in an hour and 49 minutes.
Rafa lost 14 points behind the initial shot and defended both break chances to mount the pressure on the other side. Giron stood miles from those numbers, standing powerless against the opponent's forehand and getting broken five times from nine chances offered to the Spaniard.
"I do not know what to say anymore; I'm quite tired of that. One week ago, when Novak got his visa for the first time, he could practice. I said the justice had spoken; he would have deserved to play the Australian Open if his visa was valid.
Yesterday, the judge said other things, and I can not be against something that comes from justice. What I believe personally is another thing. The best players are on the court competing at the most significant tournaments in the ideal world.
It would have been better for everyone had Novak been here. What happened is a completely different thing. The situation is obvious now, and I can not say much more about that issue," Rafael Nadal said.