Berlin (STATS Perform/dpa/MIA) — Twenty-time major winner Rafael Nadal says he is tired of the Novak Djokovic saga ahead of the Australian Open and insists the event will be “great” with or without him.
Sixth seed Nadal is preparing to take on American Miguel Giron in the Australian Open first round on Monday but preparations have been hijacked by Djokovic’s ongoing visa status.
The world number one had his visa canceled by the Australian Immigration Minister on Friday with an appeal to be held on Sunday.
The situation has dragged on for the past week, with Nadal admitting he was tired of the narrative and that no one player is bigger than the Australian Open.
“I tell you one thing, it’s very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players of the history, but there is no one player in history that’s more important than an event,” Nadal told reporters on Saturday.
“[The] Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he’s playing finally, OK.
“If he’s not playing, [the] Australian Open will be great, with or without him. That’s my point of view.”
World number six Nadal, who has only won the Australian Open title once in 2009, said he hoped focus would return to the upcoming tournament where he is aiming for a record-breaking 21st slam.
“Honestly, I’m little bit tired of the situation because I just believe that it’s important to talk about our sport, about tennis,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard added that he respected Djokovic and has a “good relationship” with him despite their differences.
“I wish him all the best. I really respect him, even if I [do] not agree with a lot of things that he did the last couple of weeks,” he said.