Home Australia Rafael Nadal fires shot at Novak Djokovic’s Aus Open ‘propaganda’

Rafael Nadal fires shot at Novak Djokovic’s Aus Open ‘propaganda’

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Rafael Nadal has broken his silence on the Australian Open’s quarantine saga with a shot at Novak Djokovic’s “propaganda” tactics.

Over a thousand tennis players and officials are now just days away from freedom, with a 200-strong group eagerly awaiting fresh air after being locked down in their hotel rooms.

Their release will all but end a mess that continues to bubble along ahead of next month’s Australian Open.

Despite quarantining in Adelaide, Djokovic became the public face of the push for better conditions in Melbourne hotels when his ‘list of demands’ leaked to the media.

The Serbian world No.1 was heavily criticised by some, with his coronavirus-infected Adria Tour still fresh in the memory, but was defended by others.

“I find the silence of Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal stranger. Novak, at least, showed good intentions,” Argentine tennis player Guido Pella said.

Djokovic later insisted he was not being “selfish, difficult and ungrateful” when he felt obliged to use his “hard-earned” privileges to make suggestions to Tennis Australia.

But his comments did not go unnoticed by Nadal as the tennis tour’s factional war threatens to spark up all over again.

“We all try to help each other,” Nadal is quoted as saying in a Spanish ESPN interview.

“Some need to make public all they do to try to help others, while some of us do it privately without publishing our calls or making propaganda with it.”

Djokovic quit as ATP Player Council president last year to start a breakaway players’ union, but Nadal and Roger Federer turned him down and refused to make the same move.

The 20-time grand slam champions were re-elected to the ATP Player Council in December while it is unclear how much support Djokovic’s new venture has received.

Meanwhile, Nadal said he understood complaints around preferential treatment for the top players afforded better conditions in Adelaide.

But he noted that no players offered to forego court time in solidarity with the group of 72 competitors locked in hard quarantine.

“Where is the line of privileges? I have a different view,” Nadal said.

“Here in Adelaide our conditions have been better than most of the conditions in Melbourne, but some Melbourne players have larger rooms where they can perform physical activities, others smaller rooms where they cannot have contact with their coach or physical trainer.

“Where is the line? It is a matter of ethics, of which each one has his opinion.

“I have not heard any Melbourne players complain that they have a better room or about those who have been confined without being able to train.

“I have not seen those who complain so much about our conditions in Adelaide say ‘why are there not equal conditions, now we will all go without training’.

“You always look up, always complain about a disadvantageous position.”

Nadal and Djokovic will feature on court for the first time this summer in Friday night’s exhibition tournament in Adelaide.

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