Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the game. File
Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said on Wednesday he was confident that Rafael Nadal will play in Melbourne despite testing positive for COVID-19, as fresh doubts emerged over Novak Djokovic.
Spanish star Nadal said on Monday that he tested positive and was experiencing "some unpleasant moments."
While the 20-time Grand Slam champion said he was examining all his playing commitments, Tiley believes Nadal will be sufficiently recovered to chase his second Australian Open title in January. "I'm confident Rafa will be here," the tournament director told reporters in Melbourne.
"Players that are testing positive now will complete a period of time until they are no longer infectious and they'll be fine."
World number one Djokovic, who has won nine of his 20 Grand Slams at Melbourne Park, remains in serious doubt over his refusal to confirm if he has been vaccinated.
The 34-year-old has been named on the tournament entry list but his father Srdjan reportedly said his participation is still not guaranteed.
Tiley said "a small percentage" of unvaccinated players and staff would be granted medical exemptions at the Australian Open, but their identity was protected by strict privacy protocols. He was not aware of any players informing organisers they had an exemption.
"If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he'll either be vaccinated or he'll have a medical exemption," Tiley said.
"Medically, he doesn't talk to anyone about it — I'm not going to ask Novak that, it's none of my business." Any indication Djokovic had received a vaccination exemption would likely prompt a furious public backlash in Melbourne, which has endured long periods of lockdown in a bid to contain the virus.
The Australian Open field has already been ravaged by injuries, with superstars Serena Williams and Roger Federer out, along with Jennifer Brady, Karolina Pliskova, Bianca Andreescu and Karolina Muchova.
Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem is struggling to return from an injury-enforced layoff, while rising star Emma Raducanu and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic have tested positive for COVID-19.
Tiley said there was still enough time for players with coronavirus to recover for the event, which begins on Jan.17. "If you're going to test positive and you want to play the Australian Open, your timing would be now," he said.
The Federal Court also rejected the argument there was no evidence that Djokovic had ever urged anyone not to get vaccinated, saying it was open to infer that the public would perceive that he was opposed to vaccinations, since he said he had not been vaccinated.
World number one Novak Djokovic said on Friday he will play at the Tokyo Olympics, giving him the opportunity to achieve the first calendar Golden Slam by a male player. “I booked my flight for Tokyo and will proudly be joining #TeamSerbia for the Olympics,” tweeted Djokovic in English.
Novak Djokovic says going unbeaten in eight Australian Open finals will give him confidence in Sunday’s decider, but he’ll need more than that to overcome “the man to beat” — red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev.
The seventh-ranked Jabeur, a three-time Grand Slam finalist, saved her best performance of the tournament for the final and raced to victory in 78 minutes.
Chasing 346 for victory, New Zealand lost an early wicket before Ravindra (97) and Williamson (54) put on 137 to put their team on course and they achieved the target with 6.2 overs to spare in Hyderabad.
French Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said on Sunday French athletes would be barred from wearing a hijab during the Paris Games to respect principles of secularism.