MELBOURNE, Australia -- As world No. 1 Novak Djokovic awaits his visa fate, a number of his peers have spoken about the unusual situation in which the 20-time Grand Slam champion finds himself.
Djokovic, who was stripped of his Australian visa on Friday afternoon after federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke exercised his special ministerial powers, is set to have a final hearing on Sunday morning in Melbourne where he will learn if he can take part in his most successful tournament, or if he'll have to depart the country.
Here's what's being said around Melbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal - "There is no one player in history that's more important than an event. No one, even Roger, Novak, myself, Bjorn Borg who was amazing at his times, tennis keeps going. If there is any solution, and the solution is the vaccine, that's it. We need to be vaccinated and the situation needs to be better for the well-being of everyone and for the health of our sport. The Australian Open will be great Australian Open with or without him. That's my point of view."
Garbine Muguruza - "This all could have been avoided by getting vaccinated, like we've all done. Everybody clearly knew the rules; you just have to follow them. I don't think it's that difficult. We all want to move on now."
Alexander Zverev - "I don't know what the perception around the fans is. I know that in the sport he's still seen one of the greatest players because his achievements are not taken away. He still won 20 Grand Slams. He still has the most weeks as world No. 1. He still has the most Masters Series. Still for me, yeah, one of the greatest players of all time. Yeah, I mean, this is obviously not a nice thing for everyone, for him especially. But don't question his legacy because of this."
Emma Raducanu - "I feel it has taken away a little bit from the great tennis that's been happening over this summer in Australia. For example, Andy Murray, he's in the final tonight, which I think is pretty incredible."
Daniil Medvedev - "We're in Australia, it's their rules. If he has a valid exemption to be in this country and to do what he wants, then he should play. If the exemption is not valid or something else is not valid, well, any country can deny your entry. I guess we're going to know a little bit more tomorrow at the appeal."
Alex De Minaur - "This whole situation has taken a lot of spotlight away from us competitors. Australians have gone through a lot. There's no secret about that. If you wanted to come into the country, you had to be double vaccinated. It was up to him, his choices, his judgment. Here we are."
Naomi Osaka - "It's an unfortunate situation. He's such a great player and it's kinda sad some people might remember him in this way."