Rafael Nadal gives verdict on Novak Djokovic being banned from US Open with Roger Federer statement

Published on Aug 27, 2022 03:39 PM IST

Amid the immense talk surrounding the ban, Rafael Nadal has given his verdict on the same with a Roger Federer statement.

Rafael Nadal; Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal; Novak Djokovic

Former world no.1 Novak Djokovic, earlier this week, withdrew himself from the US Open 2022 competition owing to the American government's Covid-19 protocol which denies entry of unvaccinated foreigners into the country. This was the second time Djokovic missed a Grand Slam tournament owing to his refusal to take Covid vaccination, having earlier suffered a similar episode in the Australian Open, where he was disallowed to defend his trophy. And amid the immense talk surrounding the ban, Rafael Nadal has given his verdict on the same with a Roger Federer statement.

Djokovic had announced his decision on Twitter just hours before the main draw was announced on Thursday. The Serb had reached the final at the Flushing Meadows last year before Daniil Medvedev stopped him from achieving the elusive Calendar Year Grand Slam. Djokovic was later deported from Australia missing the Australian Open and lost to Nadal in the French Open quarters before claiming the Wimbledon crown once again.

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Speaking to media ahead of the start of the US Open, Nadal said, “In some way we know that Novak will not play for a while if nothing change in terms of the rules, no? We knew this months ago.

“From my personal perspective, it is very sad news. It's always a shame when the best players of the world are not able to play a tournament because of injuries or because of different reasons. In this case, not having one of the best players in history in the draw of a Grand Slam is always an important miss, no? As I said, tough for the fans, tough for the tournament.

“In my opinion, tough for the players, too, because we want to have the best field possible. But on the other hand, I repeat what I said plenty of times: the sport in some ways is bigger than any player.

“I missed a lot of important events in my tennis career because of injuries, without a doubt. Last year I was not here. Two years ago I was not here. The tournament continues. The world of tennis keep going. Even if it is not good news for everyone, the world continues and tennis will continue after me, after Novak, after Roger.

“Every year will be for the slams champion. That's it. Without a doubt, Novak is one of the most important players of the last 20 years, the history of our sport. In a personal way I feel sorry for him that he's not able to travel here.”

Nadal also spoke about his injury concern which has bothered him despite his return to ATP tour in the Cincinnati Masters where he lost to eventual champion Borna Coric in his opener.

“It has been tough deal with the tear in the abdominal,” he said. “It is a tough injury because it's dangerous, it's risky. When you have a scar, it's in a place that you put a lot of effort when you are serving.

“You need to find flexibility again because when you have a scar there, at the beginning it is not flexible. The risk of breaking when you are doing an important movement back there on a thing that is not flexible like before, the risk is higher. I took it very easy in Cincinnati, too, in the practices. The match, I tried my best without putting all the effort there on the serve.

“I fight until the end. I had my chances. Here I am practising. I am doing things the best way that I can. I hope to be ready for the action, no? That's the only thing that I can say. I have what I have. With the tools that I have today, I hope to be competitive enough to give myself a chance.”

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