World No.2 Rafael Nadal has sent a warning to Novak Djokovic after the Serbian made it clear he would consider his future in tennis if the sport made it mandatory to receive a vaccination.
The tennis season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Djokovic made the claim he is against taking an anti-coronavirus vaccination if it becomes mandatory to travel once the crisis subsides.
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While he claimed he was open to changing his mind, Nadal said Djokovic may not have a choice if he wants to play tennis after the crisis.
“Everyone is free. But the truth is if you belong to a circuit, perhaps one has to be governed by the rules that the circuit requires,” Nadal told La Voz de Galicia.
"So if the tour obliges [players] to vaccinate to be able to travel to protect everyone, Djokovic will have to be vaccinated if he wants to continue playing tennis at the highest level.
"If the ATP or the ITF forces us to get a vaccine to play tennis, then we will have to get it, just as we have restrictions on not taking too many medications for obvious doping control issues. It is a matter of following the rules.”
Nadal’s warning comes after his dire prediction for the rest of the 2020 season.
‘Practically lost’: Nadal on rest of season
Rafael Nadal sees the Australian Open as his next big target, the world No.2 not expecting to be play competitive tennis again this year because of the coronavirus.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper El Pais on Tuesday, the 19-time grand slam champion thought the rest of the year would be a write off.
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"I wish, but I don't believe so. If you said we'll be ready for 2021 I would sign up for that," Nadal said.
"I am more worried about the Australian Open than what will happen at the end of this year.
"I think 2020 is practically lost. I have hopes that we will be able to start next year. Hopefully that's what will happen."