Rafael Nadal’s move increases pressure on Novak Djokovic amid COVID-19 vaccination line, says Todd Woodbridge
Tennis great Todd Woodbridge has expressed what millions of fans think about Novak Djokovic’s COVID-19 vaccination run following Rafael Nadal’s public pledge to the Australian Open.
Nadal revealed during a sponsorship opportunity at the Paris Masters that he plans to compete in the Australian Grand Slam in 2022, after returning from a lengthy injury absence at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi in December.
If Djokovic chooses not to compete in the January Australian Open due to the ‘no jab, no game’ ultimatum and Nadal competes and wins, the Serbian superstar will be left behind in the fight for the game. Most career grand slams. Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are currently tied on 20 major wins.
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Woodbridge, winner of 16 Grand Slam tournaments in men’s doubles, said Nadal’s commitment to the Australian Open had placed Djokovic under even greater pressure than before.
“One thing (that) struck me today is that Rafael Nadal challenged Novak,” Woodbridge said on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio.
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“Now the inside challenge is ‘does he win the tournament and take 21 (major wins) and come back to the front?’ Does Novak want to let him? I’m sure he won’t want (Nadal) to be in that position, so at some point Novak will have to make that call (to find out if he’s getting the shot).
“Novak – he continues to make us guess. But, in the end, that only puts more pressure on him to make a decision one way or the other. And – who knows? – maybe -” be that he already has. “
In fact, it is not known if Djokovic was vaccinated, but his refusal to confirm, his anti-vaccination comments and his unconventional approach to health led many to assume that he had not received the vaccine.
Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said last week he expected all players participating in the Australian Open “to be doubly vaccinated”.
Mr Andrews’ comments followed an email leaked giving hope to unvaccinated players.
The email, leaked to players at the Women’s Tennis Association, said the unvaccinated could arrive in Australia any time after December 1, but would have to undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine. He also said players should commit to performing regular COVID-19 testing.
Djokovic has won the last three Australian Open titles and a record nine in his distinguished career.