Rafael Nadal and other tennis stars weigh in on Novak Djokovic saga

by Msnbctv news staff

Rafael Nadal’s first Grand Slam match in additional than seven months is on the horizon, he’s getting back from a painful left foot downside that restricted him to at least one match during the last half of final season and he bought COVID-19 in December.

Loads to speak about, proper? That is, in spite of everything, the proprietor of 20 main championships and some of the vital figures within the historical past of tennis. His mere presence at an Australian Open pre-tournament information convention in the present day was newsworthy — or, relatively, would have been on just about another event.

Ah, sure, the run-up to this Australian Open has been, and appears destined to proceed to be, all about Novak Djokovic and his hopes of defending the title at a vaccination-required competitors whereas not being vaccinated in opposition to the coronavirus. So Nadal’s phrases and physique language spoke for a lot of on this planet of tennis when he shrugged his shoulders, exhaled and uttered this about his long-time rival’s will-he-play-or-won’t-he saga: “Truthfully, I am a bit bit bored with the scenario.”

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“The Australian Open is far more essential than any participant,” Nadal stated. “If he is taking part in, lastly, OK. If he is not taking part in, the Australian Open will likely be an ideal Australian Open, with or with out him. That is my perspective.”

Not like Djokovic, Nadal has gotten his pictures. As have a complete of 97 of the High 100 within the ATP rankings and 96 of the High 100 within the WTA rankings.

“All this might have been averted, like we have all carried out, by getting vaccinated, doing all of the issues we needed to do to return right here in Australia,” stated two-time main champion Garbine Muguruza, a 28-year-old from Spain who’s seeded No.3 within the ladies’s bracket. “All people knew very clearly the foundations. You simply should observe them and that is it. I do not assume it is that troublesome.”

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For now, the No.1-seeded Djokovic is scheduled to play on Monday on day one of many 12 months’s first main match, the place each he and Nadal might declare a twenty first Grand Slam trophy to interrupt the lads’s mark they presently share with Roger Federer.

Earlier than that, although, Djokovic — and, it appears, everybody else with any curiosity in any respect in tennis or the most recent developments associated in a roundabout way to the pandemic — will wait to see what occurs in a court docket listening to tomorrow on his enchantment of a second revocation of his visa by the Australian authorities.

He may very well be deported.

“I will not lie: It has been just about on each information outlet the final couple of weeks. It has acquired lots of consideration. Lots of people are clearly speaking about it,” stated Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 23-year-old from Greece who’s seeded No.4 at Melbourne Park and was the runner-up to Djokovic ultimately 12 months’s French Open. “That is why I am right here to speak about tennis… not sufficient tennis has been talked about within the final couple of weeks, which is a disgrace.”

Normally, the Australian Open — generally known as the “Comfortable Slam” — serves as a kind of celebratory launch of a brand new tennis season.

Gamers are coming off an opportunity to relaxation, recharge and put together through the offseason. They’ve a clear, or principally clear, slate, relying on whether or not they performed any tune-up matches. Some present up with wrinkles of their taking part in fashion. Some arrive with a brand new coach, wanting to see how the connection may work out.

“It feels prefer it’s taking away from us opponents who simply need to begin. We’re simply wanting to exit and compete. The Australian Open is all the time an unimaginable occasion, my residence Slam, my favourite match,” stated No. 32-seeded Alex de Minaur, a 22-year-old Australian. “On the finish of the day, tennis is a person sport, and we have all been right here in Australia for some time, preparing for this match. All of us simply need to get on with our personal stuff.”

Story traces and areas of intrigue are typically plentiful in Melbourne. As it’s, this time was destined to be a bit totally different, given the noteworthy gamers who’re absent for one cause or one other, together with Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

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However Nadal’s return to Slam motion for the primary time since a semifinal loss to Djokovic in Paris in June is an enormous deal.

So, too, is defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka’s arrival with what she says is a contemporary outlook after taking two psychological well being breaks in 2021, together with one which ended her season in September.

Given Osaka’s frank revelations about melancholy and nervousness, it was significant in the present day when she broke right into a full-on grin. When she joked round with reporters. When she appeared snug as might be.

As did Nadal. He is stated he is thrilled to be again on tour. Has been working towards effectively. He talked about his “optimistic angle” and “working spirit.”

Solely when the subject was Djokovic did Nadal sound lower than excited.

“I want him all the perfect. I actually respect him,” Nadal stated about somebody he is performed a tour-record 58 instances courting to 2006, “even when I (do) not agree with lots of issues that he did the final couple of weeks.”

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