Rafael Nadal admits he wanted Dominic Thiem to win the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal press conference

Rafael Nadal admits it “would have been better for him personally” if Dominic Thiem won the Australian Open, but that doesn’t mean he is bitter about Novak Djokovic walking away with the trophy.

Djokovic successfully defended his crown at Melbourne Park as he beat Thiem in five sets to take his Grand Slam tally to 17, leaving him just two behind Nadal and three adrift of Roger Federer’s record of 20.

The Serb’s run all the way to title also meant he replaced Nadal as the world No 1.

With the battle between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic so close in terms of who will end up with the most Grand Slams once they have all retired, the Spaniard says he was hoping Thiem would win in Melbourne.

“Obviously, yes (I would have preferred Thiem’s victory),” he told Marca.com. “You don’t have to be a hypocrite, right? It would have been better for me personally if Thiem won. But, to be honest, I slept exactly as well the last two days.

“In that regard it doesn’t matter if Dominic had won or if Novak won. It is part of our sport. This tournament is particularly good at 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.”

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