Rafael Nadal can’t devote too much energy to the absence of anti-vaxx Nobvak Djokovic at the US Open as the Serb sticks to his no-jab principles.
Instead, second seed Nadal is much more concerned about his own form after playing just one official match in the run-up to the final Grand Slam of the season.
The 36-year-old who is still feeling some effects from the abdominal injury ooncerns which struck at Wimbledon needs to concentrate on his own fitness and form prior to Monday’s start in New York.
“We know that Novak will not play for a while if nothing changes in terms of the rules, we’ve known that since months ago,” Nadal said on Friday.
“From my personal perspective, it is very sad news. It’s always a shame when the best players of the world are not able to play a tournament because of injuries or because of different reasons.”
The veteran who last competed here in 2019 – winning his fourth trophy – said the entire Djokovic no-vaxx saga was frustrating.
“It’s tough for the fans, tough for the tournament and tough for the players, too, because we want to have the best field possible.
“But I repeat what I’ve said plenty of times: the sport is bigger than any player.
“I’ve missed a lot of important events in my career because of injuries; last year I was not here, two years ago I was not here.
“But the tournament continues, the world of tennis keeps going.”
Djokovic is missing a second major this season due to his refusal to get COVID jabs, leaving him unable to cross the US border as an unvaccinated foreigner.