World No.1 Rafael Nadal was outplayed in a physical 4 hours and 10 minutes battle against Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2020 on Wednesday. The Austrian put on a flawless performance to get the better of Nadal and defeat him 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(6).
The Spaniard was happy to display the fighting spirit in him, keeping his opponent on toes till the last point of the match. However, the 19-time Grand Slam champion felt the conditions to be a ‘little bit heavy’ and the balls also became very heavy after it became old.
“I felt more comfortable with the new ball “: Rafael Nadal
The conditions in the first two sets were certainly not perfect for the 33-year-old. He was struggling with the heat and was sweating a lot during the first couple of hours into the match. The Mallorcan also admitted to these struggles along with the new balls becoming heavier for him as the games progressed.
“Conditions have been a little bit heavy and when the ball was new, it was better for me. Honestly, I had two breaks with new balls and then I felt more comfortable with the new ball and then the ball became so heavy,” Nadal explained in the post-match press conference.
Nadal also praised Dominic Thiem for producing amazing shots from these heavy balls. He said: “He [Thiem] is younger, he is very quick. With this heavy ball, it’s difficult to produce sometimes winners and he has a lot of power to produce these amazing shots from very difficult positions.”
“It was difficult to play against him”: Nadal
“I don’t give up one moment during the match. I gave myself an opportunity until the last moment, so I’m happy for that because my level of concentration and tennis was better I think. My tennis was not bad at all – it was difficult to play against him. I’m happy. [I could have had] a little bit more determination in some moments, true,” Nadal admitted.
Nadal also explained that Thiem played great matches against him in the past too and he played great quality tennis. The World No.1 believes that they both share a mutual liking for each other in terms of character.
“I like his attitude. Probably he likes mine, too. We have things that we can compare each other in some way,” he said.
Nadal was also sad that he lost an opportunity to be in the semifinals of another Grand Slam. However, the Spaniard believes he lost against a great opponent and he deserved it.
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