Rafael Nadal has offered some veiled criticism of Novak Djokovic’s attempt to sway Tennis Australia and the Victorian state government into loosening quarantine restrictions for overseas players.
Of more than 1200 players, coach and officials to fly into Australia ahead of the Australian Open, 72 were forced into hard quarantine after being aboard flights with confirmed positive coronavirus cases.
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The remaining players have been allowed out for limited training, despite some complaints about the conditions of hotel quarantine.
While some players have spoken out, Spanish superstar Nadal has remained silent throughout his own quarantine in Adelaide.
Nadal has been criticised by some for not speaking up on behalf of the players, with countryman Guido Pella saying he was ‘surprised’ by the world No.2’s silence.
However Nadal has hit back, arguing he preferred to keep any discussions he had about quarantine conditions or other player concerns under wraps./
“We all try to help each other,” Nadal told ESPN.
“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.”
Nadal has been quarantining in Adelaide, where he and Djokovic will take part in an exhibition series also featuring the likes of Ash Barty and Serena Williams ahead of the Australian Open.
The 34-year-old acknowledged it had been smoother sailing for him compared to his ATP rivals.
“It is understandable, respectable. Where is the line of privileges? I have a different view,” Nadal said.
Nadal to start 2021 with De Minaur meeting
Nadal will kick off his 2021 season with a clash against in-form Australian Alex de Minaur in the team-based ATP Cup ahead of the Australian Open.
Nadal will lead Spain and De Minaur will represent Australia as they face off on February 8 on the first day of the lead-up tournament at Melbourne Park.
The opening day will also feature world No.1 Novak Djokovic as he begins his 2021 campaign, with defending champions Serbia meeting Canada on Rod Laver Arena.
De Minaur, Australia's top-ranked player at 23rd in the world, is coming off a storming title win at the Antalya Open in Turkey.
The 21-year-old led Australia to the ATP Cup semi-finals in 2020 and this year he is joined by team members John Millman, John Peers and Luke Saville.
The ATP Cup debuted last year with 24 teams and was held across three cities in Australia but there will be half the number of teams in this year's edition because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The start of this year's tournament has been pushed back by a day to allow more time to train for the 72 players confined to hotel quarantine in Melbourne.
The winners from each group will advance to the semi-finals.
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