“I think we all want to move on, no matter what, move forward and focus on the great side to start the Grand Slam,” two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza said during a media day.
“I think all of this could have been avoided, as we have all done, by vaccinating, doing all the things we had to do to come here in Australia.
“Everyone knows the rules very clearly. You just have to follow them and that’s it. I don’t think it’s that difficult.”
Muguruza, who reached the Australian Open final in 2020, is concerned that the ongoing controversy will have a negative impact on the sport’s reputation.
Australian authorities are currently holding Djokovic ahead of a court hearing on Sunday on his case to remain in the country.
Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke revoked the unvaccinated tennis champion’s visa for a second time on Friday, saying his presence in Australia could lead to “increased anti-vaccination sentiment” and even spark “civil unrest”.
“I don’t think that would help the tennis world or the players because in the end there is a bit of a struggle all the time,” Muguruza added.
“It’s really hard to make tournaments work and to have the WTA circuit and the ATP talk from country to country to create all this news, very much.”
If Djokovic manages to compete in this year’s tournament, he will have the chance to win his 21st Grand Slam title.
He currently shares the record with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but the latter says the tournament will still be successful even if the Serb cannot play.
“I tell you one thing, it is very clear that Novak Djokovic is without a doubt one of the best players in history,” Nadal told reporters. “But no single player in history is more important than the event, right?
“The Australian Open is so much more important than any player. If he plays at the end, well. If he doesn’t play, then the Australian Open is going to be great at the Australian Open with or without him. That’s my point.”
Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka said she was heartbroken by what she saw. “I think it’s an unfortunate situation,” she told reporters.
“He’s a great player and it’s sad that some people might remember him that way.
“But I also think it’s not up to the tennis players, it’s up to the government how Australia decides to deal with it.”
It’s their rules.
World number two Daniil Medvedev spoiled Djokovic’s quest for major slams on the calendar – winning all four Grand Slams in the same calendar year – in 2021 when the Russian won the US Open final against the Serbian.
The duo could meet again in this year’s Australian Open final if they both advance that far, but Medvedev says the country’s rules must be adhered to.
“I want to say about Novak’s situation that we’re in Australia, it’s their rules,” he told reporters.
“But from what I know, again, if he has a valid exception to be in this country and do what he wants, he has to play.
“If the exemption is invalid or something else is invalid, well, any country can refuse entry to you.”
The Australian Open is scheduled to start on Monday, but whether Djokovic is in the draw has yet to be decided by the court.
CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.