May 23, 2024

Open Court


“What’s happening is not good for anyone” – Rafa Nadal

MELBOURNE, Australia – Rafael Nadal played an ATP Tour singles match Thursday for the first time since losing in the second round of the Citi Open in D.C. in early August.

So, of course, the talk was of his longtime rival Novak Djokovic.

As Nadal headed into a Zoom conference, Djokovic’s legal representatives were about to head into a federal court in Melbourne to appeal the revocation of his visa, without which he cannot play the Australian Open and must leave the country immediately.

The 35-year-old from Mallorca had time to give this one a little thought. There had been an original plan to do media after his practice on Wednesday. But in the wake of all the drama, it was wisely postponed.

Nadal was clear: in his opinion, the vaccine is the way out of the pandemic.

And to be able to come to Australia and play the tournaments, it was the rule.

End of story.

Here’s some of what he said after a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.

“Of course what’s happening is not good for anyone, in my opinion. But I can’t have a clear opinion on everything because I don’t have all the details. At the end of the day, the only thing I can say is that we have been going through very challenging (times) and a lot of families have been suffering a lot during the last two years with the pandemic. 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, and a lot of people were not able to come back home.”

“The only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine say. And if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine. That’s my point of view. I went through the Covid, I have been vaccinated twice.

The rest of the things, I don’t want to give you an opinion when I don’t have the whole information. The only clear thing is if you’re vaccinated, you can play the Australian Open and everywhere. The world has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”

“Everyone has to do what they feel is right for them”

Nadal said that he doesn’t encourage or discourage anyone to get vaccinated, that everyone has to do what they feel is right for them.

“But there are rules. And if you don’t want to get the vaccine, you can have some troubles, that’s the thing,” Nadal said. “After a lot of people have been dying for two years. With the vaccine, that is the only say to stop this pandemic. That’s what the people who understand about this say. And I am no one to create a different opinion.”

Nadal said that in a way, he feels a little sorry for Djokovic and his current situation. But it was his choice.

“If he wanted, he would be playing here without a problem. He went through another (route). He makes his own decision. And everybody is free to take their own decision. But then, there are some consequences,” Nadal said. “And 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 (for playing in Australia) many months ago.”

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