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Novak Djokovic is one of the best players in history, but the Australian Open will be great even without him: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal was of the opinion that Novak Djokovic was not bigger than the Australian Open
Rafael Nadal was of the opinion that Novak Djokovic was not bigger than the Australian Open
Shyam Kamal
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Rafael Nadal has no doubt that Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest players in the history of tennis. But at the same time, the Spaniard does not feel the Serb can be considered bigger than any tournament.

Speaking at his press conference before the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal commented on the possibility of the World No. 1 being deported from Australia over his visa controversy.

Asked Nadal about #AusOpen with or without Djokovic, and he had a very forceful response. https://t.co/JpAMs6LsMG

In response, Nadal was quick to acknowledge the three-time defending champion's status as one of the best tennis players in history. But the 20-time Grand Slam champion insisted that the Australian Open would be "great" irrespective of whether the Serb features in the draw.

"It's very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players in history, without a doubt. But there is no one player in history that's more important than an event," the Spaniard said. "If he's playing finally, okay. If he's not playing, the Australian Open will be great with or without him. That's my point of view."

The Spaniard is of the opinion that there is always a stream of new players available to replace the old legends. The 35-year-old added that it did not matter how great a player was during their era because tennis never stopped for anyone.

"The players stay and after they go, other players are coming," he said. "No one, not even Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, myself, Bjorn Borg - who was amazing in his time. Tennis keeps on going."

Rafael Nadal begins his Australian Open campaign against Marcos Giron

Rafael Nadal has a tough task ahead of him at the 2022 Australian Open
Rafael Nadal has a tough task ahead of him at the 2022 Australian Open

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is right not to be distracted by Novak Djokovic's situation, as he has to deal with one of the toughest draws at the 2022 Australian Open.

His first match is against World No. 66 Marcos Giron. There is a high likelihood that the Spaniard will have to beat four players ranked in the top 10 of the ATP rankings before he can win his 21st Grand Slam title.

19 CONSECUTIVE SEASONS with an ATP title for @RafaelNadal! 😮He edges out Cressy 7-6 6-3 to win at the Melbourne Summer Set!#MelbourneTennis https://t.co/lNteEAx9Oq

However, the Spaniard comes into the tournament high on confidence. He won the Melbourne Summer Set last week without dropping a single set. Even though the level of opponents was not as high as the ones he will face at the Slam, his first ATP title in Australia in over a decade is an encouraging sign for the former World No. 1.


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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