PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem in Australian Open practice match

Rafael Nadal took on Dominic Thiem in a surprise clash on Margaret Court Arena on Friday.

Thiem won the first set in a tie-break but our champ secured the only two breaks of the match in the second to level the match. While the roof was closed, both men struggled in humid conditions and called off a third set in favour of a tiebreak. Rafa overcame dogged resistance from the Austrian to win 10-8 in the much-needed hitout. Thiem squibbed a simple overhead with the score at 8-8, allowing Rafa to close out the match. The final result was 6-7, 6-2, 10-8.

After the match, Rafa said:

The practice session was more similar to the real match, and that was the goal. I have been practicing very well, with good players. Today I had another test against one of the best players and I have passed it. It has been another good test after I had the day off on Thursday. I am satisfied to be able to keep the good feelings. With the tournament starting soon I feel more and more ready every day. (via El Pais)

Sources: Australian Associated Press, El Pais


  1. For those who want information about the weather, I can give you updates if you like. Melbourne’s weather is generally not as hot or humid as Sydney’s, and we get cool changes all the time throughout summer, which seem strange to most people but which give you a break from the heat. For instance, yesterday was 30 and humid, while today is going to be only 21. The forecast temperatures for the first week are: Monday – 22, Tues – 28, Wed – 32, Thurs – 38, Fri – 32. A mixed bag, but that’s Melbourne for you. Luckily Rafa won’t have to play on Thursday. If anyone has any other questions about Melbourne, I’ll be happy to answer them.

    • Thanks sooo much Elizabeth-in Melbbourne. Glad you caught that. I hope Aussie Abuela Taya doesn’t think I’m geographically challenged.🤔

      I did read that Melbourne’s temperature fluctuates so that’s a good thing. At least he can start on a good note on Monday. Again, thank you.


  2. Aww. The coin toss photo. Rafa and the chair umpire look so amused. Zoom in and you’ll see how adorable Rafa’s smile is. Can’t see Thiem’s face but he must be smiling too. Love it!

    And of course, how often do you get to see a practice match has the chair umpire and the ball kids and all? 😩😤😁

    (It was team Rafa’s idea btw.)

    Seems very sensible that Rafa decided not to keep on playing the Kooyoong Classic and take the whole Thursday off (he visited the zoo btw 😂) then arranged this “badass” practice match.

    Results could have been a bit better but it’s looking good. Way to go, Rafa!

  3. Sending positive vibes to Rafa, hope this will continue thru the end of the tournament. Vamos and best of luck…🍀🎾🍀🎾🍀🎾

  4. Rafa…looks like a fine start warmup match with Thiem. Stay healthy. I’ll be watching from Florida!

  5. Sleeveless please Rafa for the ladies. So glad you are feeling Great again. I love seeing you play and will never get tired of it. Stay healthy and have so serious Fun playing out there .

  6. Hope the weather stays cool n dry so that the roof is kept open Rafa. Vamos Rafa my boy. God bless you. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. 🐂 🏆👑⛵️🎉🎉

    • Hi Shirley Taya, Aussie Abuela de Rafa, can you give me a clearer sense of the weather than what I have been reading on the Internet about storms, lightning strikes, rain and heat happening across Sydney? Thank you.


  7. Happy you came out on top Rafa but don’t equate a practice match with the real deal.

    Nadal and Thiem agreed to stop because of the terrible heat but I don’t see the AO directors loosening rules if the heat becomes unbearable for players. I hope I’m wrong.

    Win or lose, Rafa has the whole year to work his magic. I hope it starts with the AO.


    • Margo, I agree about the practice, but it is a positive sign that Rafa is feeling good. If he was quoted accurately yesterday, Rafa said that he may add events in 2018. Rafa wants to remain number one and he realizes that he faces more competition this year. Rafa is more realistic than his fans, but I worry that his knees will not hold up? I sure hope they do.

      • va4favre I agree. That Rafa is feeling good is wonderful. His great big smile and sheer enthusiasm tell it all.

        Regarding his 2018 schedule, I personally feel Rafa would play every tournament if he could. I just hope Carlos prevails if he thinks Rafa should rest.

        The way he has been playing, it looks as if his knee has pretty much healed. I too hope he won’t have a recurrence in 2018.

        RAFA ROCKS

  8. The best for you Rafa keep practice ,and good luck champ VAMOSSSSSSSSSS all the way.🎾🎾🎾🎾👍👍👍👍😘😘😘😘❤️🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🏆

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