Pressure mounts on Novak Djokovic after massive Rafa Nadal news

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Rafael Nadal (pictured left) reacts next to Novak Djokovic (pictured right) at the Tie Break Tens ahead of the 2018 Australian Open.
Will Rafael Nadal's (pictured left) announcement he intends to play at the Australian Open next year affect Novak Djokovic's (pictured right) decision? (Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal's huge announcement regarding next year's Australian Open could have a massive impact on Novak Djokovic.

After remaining quiet on his injury progress, Nadal delighted fans after confirming he would play in the World Tennis Championship next month.

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He then signalled his intention to be fit for next year's Australian Open, where he will seek a men's record 21 grand slam titles.

However, Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge believes Nadal's announcement could impact Djokovic.

The World No.1 has not committed to the Australian Open yet having not revealed his vaccination status.

After a leaked email sent to WTA players, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed unvaccinated players would be free to contest the grand slam if they completed two weeks in hard quarantine.

However, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews slammed the door shut, insisting - just like unvaccinated fans - that un-jabbed players would not be allowed into Melbourne Park.

Now, Woodbridge said the pressure is piling up on Djokovic and his quest for glory.

"One thing (that) stood out to me today is that Novak has been laid the challenge from Rafael Nadal," Woodbridge told 2GB's WWOS radio.

"Now, the challenge within that is, 'does he win the tournament and take 21 (major wins) and get back in front?' Does Novak want to let him do that? I'm sure he won't want (Nadal) to be in that position, so at some point Novak is going to have to make that call (as to whether he gets vaccinated).

"Novak – he continues to keep us guessing. But, in the end, it's only building pressure on him to make a decision one way or the other. And – who knows? – maybe he already has."

Rafa Nadal's huge Aus Open announcement

Earlier, Nadal surprised fans after his announcement he would be returning to the court soon.

The 20-time grand slam champion skipped the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon in a bid to get back to full fitness ahead of the US Open.

However, after a shock loss to Lloyd Harris at the Washington Open, Nadal withdrew from the US Open and announced he would be taking the remainder of 2021 off due to a foot injury.

Now, he aims to be back at the end of this year.

"My plan is to play Abu Dhabi in December and then in a tournament before Australia and then the Australian Open," Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal (pictured) waves to the crowd after losing a match to Lloyd Harris at the Citi Open.
Rafael Nadal (pictured) has announced his intentions to take part in the 2022 Australian Open. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

"That's my goal.

"We're working hard to make it happen.

"The injury in my foot still needs to get a little better, but I'm already training almost an hour and a half a day so that's positive.

"Some days are better than others, but I'm starting to have a lot more positive days than negative ones.

"So, I'm on the right track. I'm training, I'm feeling better. I'm back on the court."

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