Rafael Nadal French Open 2021

Rafael Nadal will be “foaming at the mouth” as Novak Djokovic could miss the Australian Open

Tennis greats Jim Courier and Andy Roddick feel that Rafael Nadal will be “jumping at the bit” to hear that Novak Djokovic may potentially miss the Australian Open.

World number one Novak Djokovic’s refusal to declare his Covid-19 vaccination status means he could miss the Australian Open in January.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley announced that players who want to compete at the ‘Happy Slam’ will be required to be double-vaccinated.

Djokovic had previously said he would wait until official rules were announced before making a final decision, but he is still yet to commit his participation.

Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both boast an impressive 20 Grand Slam titles each as they compete against each other to become the most successful singles player of all time.

With Djokovic potentially missing the first Grand Slam of the season and Nadal making his return from injury at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition in December, both US Open winner Andy Roddick and four-time Grand Slam champion Jim Courier feel this is an opportunity Nadal won’t want to miss.

On a panel with Tennis Channel Live, Roddick said “we don’t know what’s going to happen with Australia. Nobody knows except Novak what he’s going to do and if he’s going to play the game the way it has to be played to participate in Australia.

“If he doesn’t, opportunity’s knocking for Medvedev, Zverev, Rafa’s going to be foaming at the mouth to get there and get to that 21st Slam so these other guys, they have to play their tournament either way.”

Similarly, Jim Courier said on the show “anyone who wants to get in and work in Australia has to be vaccinated and he (Djokovic) gets that he can’t get that normal top player exemption which in most things happens for him and for all the other top players.

“This is a real crossroads (dilemma) for him because when you factor in what Andy [Roddick] said about Rafa [Nadal] jumping at the bit to get to 21 [Grand Slams] first that would also give Rafa, if he was able to stay healthy and play in Australia, all of the Majors at least twice. Something Novak has done at least as well.

“There is a lot at stake here in the cannons of tennis history and this is a really fascinating wrinkle (facet) to it.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.