Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said he is 'confident' that Rafael Nadal will compete in January's Grand Slam after he recovers from contracting Covid-19.
Nadal announced on Monday that he had tested positive for Covid and admitted he needed to be 'totally flexible' with his schedule ahead of the Australian Open.
Alongside Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Nadal is tied on 20 Grand Slams and said in a press conference recently that he was playing for Slams, 'not for money or for fun'.
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And Tiley is confident that the Spaniard will be in Melbourne to compete for a record 21st major win.
"I'm confident Rafa will be here," the tournament director told reporters in Melbourne.
Players that are testing positive now will complete a period of time until they are no longer infectious and they'll be fine."
Djokovic's attendance, meanwhile, is a mystery as he remains coy over his vaccination status.
The state of Victoria has made vaccination mandatory for sporting events, and so - barring medical exemption - the world number one will need to be vaccinated if he wants to try to defend the title he has won nine times before.
And Tiley was quick to reiterate the rules surrounding Djokovic's attendance.
"If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he'll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption," Tiley added.
Medically, he doesn't talk to anyone about it -- I'm not going to ask Novak that, it's none of my business."
With Nadal, Emma Radacanu, Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur are among other stars to have tested positive in the past two weeks.
And as a wave of Omicron grips the planet and athletes continue to test positive for the virus, Tiley cofnessed that - given the timing of the Australian Open - now would be the best time to test positive if you're going to catch Covid.
"If you're going to test positive and you want to play the Australian Open, your timing would be now," he said.
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