Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal backs Novak Djokovic Australian Open return as ‘best news possible’

Rafael Nadal says Novak Djokovic being able to play the Australian Open next year is ‘the best possible news.’

Nadal won the tournament in Djokovic’s absence last year after the Serbian was sensationally deported on the eve of the tournament over a vaccination row.

However, Djokovic will be back in 2023 after the government granted him a visa to return to the country, and he will surely be the man to beat given his record there.

That should make things a lot harder for Nadal to defend his title, but he has welcomed the news.

“Tennis is better when the best players are on the court,” Rafael Nadal said after his final match of the season at the ATP Finals.

“At the end we don’t have to create many stories. Even if was a big mess what happened last year in Australia, was not good for our sport. That was past. Roger is not playing any more. I missed lot of Grand Slams for injuries. Last year Novak was not able to play there. That’s past.

“What’s next is Novak will be able to play again. That’s the best news possible, especially knowing that now the virus is more under control – seems – around the world.

“So why not? Happy for him. Happy for the tournament. Happy for the fans. That’s it.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.