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Rafael Nadal responds to Novak Djokovic getting Australian Open ban lifted

Daily Express logo Daily Express 18/11/2022 Andrew McLean

has said he is happy for after his three-year ban from entering Australia was overturned meaning he can take part in the in 2023. The Wimbledon champion originally received the ban after he was deported over his vaccination status before the tournament earlier this year but will now have the opportunity to fight for his tenth title in Melbourne.

Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament in 2022 after his visa was cancelled twice after the authorities ruled his presence would 'excite anti-vax sentiment' in the country. All people deported from Australia automatically get banned from returning to the country for three years but have the right to apply for an appeal.

The 35-year-old appealed the ban and found out on Tuesday that he had been successful. He will now have the opportunity to fight for the trophy again in 2023, with Nadal likely to be one of his closest challengers. The Spaniard took advantage of Djokovic's absence this year to take the title, beating Daniil Medvedev in five sets in the final.

Nadal has now responded to the Serbian's ban being overturned suggesting it is the best possible news.


Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic © GETTY Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

"I always said the same," he explained. "Tennis is better when the best players are on the court. At the end, we don't have to create many stories. Even if was a big mess what happened last year in Australia, was not good for our sport. That was past. Roger is not playing anymore. I missed a lot of Grand Slams for injuries. Last year Novak was not able to play there. That's past.

"What's next is Novak will be able to play again. That's the best news possible, especially knowing that now the virus is more under control - seems - around the world. So why not?

"Happy for him. Happy for the tournament. Happy for the fans. That's it."


Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal © GETTY Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal

Nadal and Djokovic have been competing in the season-ending ATP Tour finals in Turin but have had contrasting fortunes. The Spaniard has been knocked out after losing to Felix Auger-Aliassme and Taylor Fritz while the Serb has won both his matches so far to qualify for the knockouts with a game to spare.

Djokovic was asked about his feelings following his ban being overturned, admitting it had given him a boost for the current event in Italy.

"Well, of course, I was very happy to receive the news yesterday," he told reporters. "Yeah, it was a relief obviously knowing what I and people closest to me in my life have been through this year with what happened in Australia and post Australia obviously. I could not receive better news for sure - during this tournament as well."


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