Rafael Nadal told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday that no player is more important than the Australian Open. That includes himself, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he said.
“It’s clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players,” said Nadal, but added that the Australian Open was “much more important than any player.”
Nadal said the tournament would be great “with or without” Djokovic.
When asked about the situation surrounding Djokovic, and what it might mean for his legacy, Nadal said he doesn’t know.
“I wish him the best,” said Nadal, adding that he has had a “good relationship” with Djokovic during his career.
He said he respects Djokovic as a “person and as an athlete” even as he “disagrees with a lot of things (Djokovic) have done in the past few weeks.”
“I wish him all the best,” said Nadal.
Nadal, the sixth seed, is on the same half as Djokovic at the Australian Open. But the two won’t meet until the semi-finals, if both players get that far.
Of Nadal’s 20 major titles, only one is a win at the Australian Open – which he won in 2009.