WATCH: Tennis Channel Live discusses Djokovic's Visa being canceled a second time.

As rival Novak Djokovic’s visa saga drags on, Rafael Nadal prefers to keep his focus on the task at hand: the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, will go on “with or without” the World No. 1.

The sixth seed spoke to press ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam, where he is looking to claim a record-breaking 21st major title. Nadal’s historic bid—along with many of the sport’s other unfolding storylines—has been largely overshadowed by the question of Djokovic’s participation in the event.

Although the men’s singles draw has already been made and features defending champion Djokovic as the top seed, Australia’s Federal Court may still move forward with his visa cancellation on Sunday.

“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, no?” Nadal told press.

“[The] Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he's playing finally, okay. If he's not playing, the Australian Open will be [a] great Australian Open with or without him.”

“I wish him all the best,” he added. “I really respect him, even if I am not agree with a lot of things that he did the last couple of weeks.”


Nadal has been keeping his expectations manageable as he prepares for his first Grand Slam in six months. The Spaniard’s 2021 season was derailed by a foot injury, and he has only played three matches since bowing out in the Roland Garros semifinal.

He has already shaken off the rust in Melbourne, claiming his first ATP title of the year last week with a win over Maxime Cressy in the final. Nadal, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 during the off-season, is seeking to win his second Australian Open trophy.

“I just want to go day by day,” he said. “Of course, I'm going to keep trying my best to improve. But practices helps. [To] be practicing here with the guys, and play three matches last week, let's see how things start in the Australian Open.”

Sixth-seeded Nadal starts his campaign against American Marcos Giron when the top half of the draw gets underway.