Rafael Nadal calls Djokovic visa controversy a 'circus,' says 'I want to play tennis'

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Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal expressed his annoyance over an ongoing visa controversy surrounding top-ranked men's player Novak Djokovic, calling it a "circus" and saying he just wanted to focus on tennis.

"I'm just a player seeing the circus from the outside. But, as I said, I am a little bit tired of this matter," the 35-year-old said on Saturday in an interview with CNN. "I think it went too far. I wish Novak all the very best. And that's it, I want to play tennis."

Djokovic remains entangled in a dispute with Australian authorities regarding whether he will be allowed to play in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament held each year for tennis, which is set to start on Monday. The Australian Open requires players, officials and fans to be vaccinated.

The Serbian tennis player, who announced on social media that he had been granted an "exemption permission" to play in the Grand Slam, later had his visa revoked after Australian authorities said that he had not provided sufficient evidence to meet entry criteria.

A court filing indicated that Djokvic had received a medical exemption after testing positive for COVID-19.

The tennis player became embroiled in still more controversy after admitting that a travel declaration given to Australian officials contained inaccuracies.

A judge reversed Djokvic's first visa revocation after saying that Djokovic did not have time to meet with lawyers before his visa was revoked. But Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday announced in a statement that the visa was being revoked again "on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so."

On Sunday morning, Djokovic will attend a Federal Court hearing to appeal the ruling, but for now he remains detained in the country, CNN reported.

British tennis player Andy Murray has also lamented the toll that the controversy surrounding the Serbian player has had on tennis.

"It's not a good situation for anyone," Murray said, according to The Associated Press. "It just seems like it's dragged on for quite a long time now."

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