“(It) is normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the (Djokovic) 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,” Nadal said.
“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 vaccinated.
“I went through the Covid – I have been vaccinated twice – and if you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here … the world, in my opinion, has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”
Nadal only begrudgingly admitted to feeling sorry for Djokovic’s hellish experience since landing in Melbourne late on Wednesday night.
“If he wanted, he will be playing here in Australia without a problem,” he said.
“He went through another (option, applying for an exemption). He makes his own decisions and everybody is free to make their own decision, but then there are some consequences, no?
“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.”
Sandgren, a dual Australian Open quarter-finalist, opted not to make the trip to Melbourne, or apply for an exemption, and doesn’t plan to get vaccinated.
Another tour veteran, Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky targeted Australia’s politicians with a strongly worded tweet.
“When next time somebody will tell you “Sports is not interfering with politics” you remember the 6 Jan2022, when purely political “ego” is not allowing best tennis player in the world to enter the country, to which they “governmental institutions” granted entry.”
Australia’s world No.1 Ash Barty sidestepped the issue but said she sympathised with and understood why Victorians were angry.