Novak Djokovic saga takes new twist with three players entering Australia on same visa
Novak Djokovic is set to be deported back to Europe after having his via to enter Australia revoked on his arrival in Melbourne.Djokovic was then held in the airport and grilled for several hours by border officials before it was announced he had not met entry rules and would be deported. A flight is currently being arranged to fly him out on Thursday.
Rafael Nadal is in a prime position to pull clear of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the age-old Greatest Of All Time debate. All of tennis' famed 'big three' are tied on an incredible 20 Grand Slam titles apiece, with all in, or entering, the twilight of their careers.
It was an ideal start to Rafael Nadal's Australian Open campaign when he sailed through his first round match in straight sets on Monday.
America's Marcos Giron was seen off 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, with Germany's Yannick Hanfmann waiting in the second round.
The outlook is not so rosy for Djokovic, however, who has left Australia after a lengthy visa battle due to not being vaccinated against Covid.
Novak Djokovic breaks silence from detention hotel after Australian Open fiasco
BREAKING: NOVAK DJOKOVIC has posted publicly for the first time since having his visa cancelled and being held in a Melbourne hotel when arriving for the Australian Open with a medical exemption.Following months of speculation over his participation, Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he would be competing in the Australian Open after receiving "an exemption permission", posting a photo of himself at the airport before flying to Melbourne.
A judge initially cleared the Serb to compete at this month's tournament, before Immigration Minister Alex Hawke overruled the decision and deported the 34-year-old, a decision that was upheld in court. © GETTY Rafael Nadal
Djokovic is also set to be slapped with a three-year visa ban, which will theoretically stop him competing at the Australian Open for the foreseeable future.
The nine-time Australian Open winner caused a huge stir when he gained a medical exemption to compete at the tournament, despite being unvaccinated.
And there could be more trouble down the line, with Djokovic's status as the 'anti-vax posterboy' threatening to backfire in future tournaments.
That will come as good news for Nadal, who has a clearer run to the title in Melbourne this month and may well have an improved shot Down Under for the next three years if he intends to continue competing for that long.
Djokovic appeal reveals positive Covid test in December
Novak Djokovic's appeal to enter Australia with a medical exemption is based upon a recent positive Covid-19 test, a court filing from his lawyers has revealed.In court documents published on Saturday, it is stated the Serb recorded a positive test on December 16, and has "not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 72 hours".
The 35-year-old has only won the Australian Open once before, way back in 2009, but a triumph this year - one that is not impossible given he has reached the final on four occasions since his last victory - could stir up serious momentum ahead of the French Open in spring.
Nadal is virtually invincible at Roland Garros, having only tasted defeat three times in 108 French Open matches.
Djokovic's absence from Melbourne, and his potential absence from Grand Slams to come gives Nadal the perfect chance to pull clear in the race to rack up as many titles as possible before retirement.
Due to an age advantage and momentum, many had tipped Djokovic to hang up his racket having banked the most titles. © GETTY Novak Djokovic
But the advantage could lie with Nadal, who does not have to worry about Djokovic pulling clear for now, and faces less competition in his own attempts to add to his tally.
Of course, Federer is level on 20 titles, but with his 41st birthday a matter of months away, it remains to be seen whether the legendary Swiss has more titles in the tank.
The veteran is sitting out this month's Grand Slam amid his ongoing recovery from knee surgery.
With fine margins separating the formidable trio, as has been the case over the past few years, now could be the ideal time for Nadal to find his best form and stake his claim to the coveted GOAT label - a title contested nowhere more competitively than in tennis.
Rafael Nadal can copy Novak Djokovic at Aus Open and do something Roger Federer never has .
RAFAEL NADAL is chasing only his second ever Australian Open triumph this week.Rafael Nadal is preparing for his seventh career semi-final at the Australian Open this week, having won all of his last five. Matteo Berrettini is the man looking to end Nadal's unbeaten run in the semis with the two doing battle on Friday for a place in Sunday's final.