KEY POINTS

  • Djokovic's visa has been revoked in Australia
  • He didn't have any proof of vaccination or a medical exemption to show
  • Djokovic has won the Australian Open for a record nine times

Rafael Nadal has backed Australia’s decision to revoke Novak Djokovic’s visa on his arrival in Melbourne because the World No. 1 tennis star is allegedly not vaccinated. 

Djokovic has not spoken about his vaccination status, but last year he said he was "opposed to vaccination". On touch down in Melbourne, Djokovic, who is the defending champion at the Australian Open, could not provide evidence of double vaccination or a medical exemption, according to Fox Sports.

Nadal, who recently recovered after contracting the coronavirus, returned to action with a straight-set win in the second round of the ATP 250 Melbourne Summer Set -- his first singles match on the ATP Tour since August 2021.

Australia has vowed to deport tennis world number one Novak Djokovic after he failed to provide evidence of double vaccination or a medical exemption Australia has vowed to deport tennis world number one Novak Djokovic after he failed to provide evidence of double vaccination or a medical exemption Photo: AFP / Andrej ISAKOVIC

"I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem. He went through another -- he made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences. 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," Nadal said in a post-match conference after his 6-2, 7-5 win. 

The reigning champion, Djokovic, had a nightmare 24 hours in Melbourne, where he arrived only to have his visa rejected. He was then taken to a government detention hotel. His lawyers have launched an urgent appeal in court, according to BBC

When Nadal was asked in the conference if he would encourage his rival to get vaccinated, the Spaniard replied, "I don’t encourage anyone. I feel everyone has to do whatever, whatever feels that is good for him. But there are rules, and if you don't want to get the vaccine, then you can have some troubles. That's the thing. 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 has been suffering enough to not follow the rules."

With nine singles titles, Djokovic is the most successful men’s player at the Australian Open.