Rafael Nadal started his preparations for the 2021 Australian Open in the best possible way, showing excellent form against Dominic Thiem. In the performance staged in Adelaide, the 20-time Grand Slam champion broke the Austrian's resistance with a score of 7-5 6-4 in a fairly intense match.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem - along with the top three players in the WTA rankings - have remained in quarantine in Adelaide for the past two weeks, having received preferential treatment from Tennis Australia over players in Melbourne.
In exchange for this 'favor', the South Australian government demanded the organization of an exhibition entitled 'A Day at the Drive', which took place on Friday. During the post-match interview, Nadal praised the Australians for their efforts to contain the pandemic, as well as joking that his only triumph at the Australian Open in 2009 has now fallen into oblivion.
Rafael Nadal lauded the Australians
"Yeah, (it has) been a very hard year for all the world in general," Rafael Nadal said. "So for us in Spain we were hit very hard by the virus, so we still in a very tough situation.
I think Australia is an amazing positive example on how to make things the right way, to control the pandemic, so many congratulations to the country. Last two weeks have been great honestly, of course it is not ideal to stay 14 days under quarantine but that’s the way we need to do things today," he added.
"So we can’t thank enough South Australia, can’t thank enough Tennis Australia for all the positive things that they make for us." Nadal has 20 Major titles to his name but has won the Australian Open only once, and the Mallorcan referred to that imbalance while speaking to the spectators.
"I think for both (himself and Dominic Thiem) of us it's been an amazing pleasure to be here in Adelaide for the first time in our lives," Nadal added. "Has been amazing to play a game in front of you guys, we missed (this) a lot.
And yeah, I hope to have the right preparation for the Australian Open. I won there in 2009, I think almost everybody forget about that (laughs) but I keep trying hard! This year it is a special one and I gonna keep trying my best." After this event, both players will travel to Melbourne for the first Grand Slam of the new season.