Nadal Left To Rue Three Tie-Break Losses
Spanish superstar may lose No. 1 ranking to Djokovic
When asked whether he’d do anything differently, the disappointed 2009 champion said, “Yes, win any tie-break. But that's how it works. Sometimes things are not going the way that you would like.
“I had a big chance with 5-3 in the first [set]. I think I had set point serving. It was a very important moment of the match, for sure. Then, I think, I didn't play a good tie-break. In the second [set], I was back. But he played with the right determination. He was putting one more ball in all the time, in a difficult position for me.
“I think he's playing great. He's playing with a lot of energy, aggressive, determination. So well done for him… I think we like each other in terms of character. I like his attitude. Probably he likes mine, too (smiling). I wish him all the very best for the rest of the tournament.”
The 33-year-old Nadal converted four of his nine break points, and committed 33 unforced errors — 16 fewer than Thiem, who hit 65 winners, including 14 aces, in the four-hour, 10-minute clash.
“I honestly didn’t play a bad match,” said Nadal. “My attitude was great, I think, during the whole match. Good, positive, fighting spirit all the time, giving me more chances.
“I didn't give up in any moment during the whole match. I gave myself an opportunity until the last point. I’m happy for that because my level of concentration [more] than the tennis was better, I think even the concentration, than the tennis. But the tennis was not bad at all. It was difficult to play against him. I’m happy, but I need a little bit more determination in some moments - true.
“Of course, I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semi-finals of another Grand Slam. But I lost against a great opponent. And he deserved it, too. Well done for him.”
Nadal could lose his place at No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on 3 February should Novak Djokovic go on to capture his eighth Australian Open crown. The Spaniard completes the first month of the 2020 ATP Tour season with a 8-3 match record, which includes helping Team Spain to the inaugural ATP Cup final (l. to Serbia).