Players usually play practice sets prior to a Grand Slam and other tournaments, and that's not surprising. But what Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem did on Friday was unusual and very good for fans in Melbourne.
The world No. 1 defeated Thiem 6-7(4) 6-2 [10-8]. The day was affected by rainy weather, and so fans could not watch Australian Open Qualies matches, which you can watch for free. They entered Margaret Court Arena, that has a retractable roof, and watched the exhibition match.
According to the journalist Stuart Fraser, there was an umpire, line judges, ball kids, and scoreboard, just like if it was a normal match. Also, Hawk-Eye calls were allowed. Nadal and Thiem played some Amazing rallies, and at the end it was the 16-time Grand Slam champion to prevail.
'It's been a practice more similar to an actual match, which was the goal. The fact of having the umpire, line-persons, ball-boys or the coaches off-court has made conditions be more similar to those we have when we're competing.
I've been training well, with good players. Today it was an important test against one of the best and I've passed it, but I've passed it because I've been at a high level, playing at a pace similar to that of competition.
It's been another good test after the day off on Thursday. I'm happy to have kept the good feelings. The beginning of the tournament is coming and I feel that I'm more and more ready', Nadal told El Espanol.
Kyrgios is in great form' .