World No.1 Novak Djokovic edged past Dominic Thiem in a thrilling five-setter in the Australian Open 2020 finals, last week. However, why was Rafael Nadal rooting for Thiem, despite the Austrian defeated him in the quarterfinals?
On one hand was Djokovic, who was aiming to clinch his record-extending 8th Australian Open title. On the other hand, Thiem was hoping to break the streak of ‘Big Three’ and become the first player outside the ‘Big Three’ to win a Slam since 2016 US Open.
The victory helped Djokovic replace Nadal at the world number one spot following his victory over Thiem. The Serb also narrowed the gap with Nadal’s Grand Slam tally of 19. Hence, the Spaniard wanted Thiem to win for his own means.
“Obviously, yes (I would have preferred Thiem’s victory). I don’t have to be a hypocrite, right? It would have been better for me personally if Thiem won,” Nadal honestly admitted in an interview with Marca in Kuwait.
However, Nadal revealed that he slept exactly as well for the last two days. Hence, it didn’t matter if Dominic had won or if Novak won. The Mallorcan explained that it is part of our sport.
“This tournament is particularly good for Novak. And right now he is today, the best player in the world. This is what the numbers say. And the only thing that can be done is to congratulate him on another great success,” Nadal continued.
He also believes that the next-gen players are inching closer to the title but he does count Thiem in the next-generation as he is already 26. However, he knows that there are many good players who are at a high level and who will have their chances in the coming months
“Obviously, in the ‘Next Gen’ there are many good, young players, and in the semifinals, there has been one, which is Zverev because Thiem can no longer be considered ‘Next Gen’,” Nadal concluded.