Melbourne [Australia], January 6 (ANI): Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal on Thursday said that world number one Novak Djokovic would not have had any problem arriving in Australia provided he was vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic has decided to mount a legal challenge to his visa cancellation by Australia. The defending Australian Open champion had to spend eight hours in detention at Melbourne Airport where he unsuccessfully pleaded his case to border officials.
“I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia at the Australian Open without a problem. He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Nadal as saying.
“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,” he added.
The defending Australian Open champion now may be ordered to leave Melbourne as early as Thursday evening as Australian Border Force has stated that he failed to provide appropriate evidence to enter Australia.
As per the guidelines, evidence must be presented at the border by people who are unvaccinated for COVID-19. Australia on Thursday cancelled world number one Novak Djokovic’s visa to enter the country, Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed.
“It’s normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the case, because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns. A lot of people were not able to come back home,” said Nadal.
“After a lot of people have been dying for two years my feeling is with the vaccine, it’s the only way to stop this pandemic. The only for me clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion have been suffering enough to not follow the rules,” he added.
Earlier, Djokovic had landed in Australia citing a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. The particular vaccine exemption which Djokovic cited created a huge controversy and it received backlash from the Australian public.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said Djokovic is no special case and the same rules as everyone will apply to him.
“Mr. Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant,” Morrison tweeted. (ANI)