Rafael Nadal out of Australian Open, could lose No. 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic

Top seed Rafael Nadal is out of the Australian Open after being beaten in the quarterfinal by Austrian Dominic Thiem.

The 33-year-old Rafa went down 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(8) to Thiem, who notched his fourth win over a reigning World No.1 and achieved the feat for the second time in the last four majors.

After the loss, Rafa said:

I think he’s playing great. He’s playing with a lot of energy, aggressive, determination. So well done for him. I honestly didn’t play a bad match, no, no. My attitude was great, I think, during the whole match. Good, positive, fighting spirit all the time, giving me more chances. That’s what I tried, no?

Don’t give up in no one moment during the whole match. I give myself an opportunity until the last point. Happy for that because my level of concentration and 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.

When the ball was new for me, have been better, honestly. Honestly, I had two breaks with new balls. Then I felt more comfortable with the new balls.

The ball became so heavy. He’s younger, he’s very quick. With these heavy balls, it’s difficult to produce sometimes winners. He has a lot of power, so he’s able to produce these amazing shots from a very difficult position. Nothing to say. Of course, I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semifinals of another Grand Slam. But I lost against a great opponent. And he deserve it, too. Well done for him.

Our champ 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.

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34 comments

  1. We all still love him win or lose because it’s not his tennis alone that’s admirable but he has so many qualities too numerous to mention

    • I traveled to the Australian Open just to watch Rafa play just once in my life . He is truly magnificent and stunning. The most exciting and electrifying player on tour. I worried about his limp when he walked after his last 2 matches, Rafa will win next time . Thiem complains to the umpire about Rafa during his last 2 games (Aus and the French) . I was disappointed in that . Miss Rafa already . Have a good rest and come back fully healed and stronger our Champion.

  2. I forgot to comment that Rafa should consider moving closer to the baseline (not on baseline, but rather a foot or so behind it) on second serves. Anyway, I am looking forward to Nadal tying and eventually leading Federer before they both [sadly, but inevitably] retire.

  3. Rafa played a younger, possibly physically stronger, opponent in Thiem and only lost on tie breaks. He fought hard as he always does and competed well throughout. Yes, Rafa does get a little nervous these days, at times, and has admitted this. Unfortunately, even the very best can get nervous, especially as they get older. (I don’t think the younger Rafa would have lost the first two sets when he was up a break in both but we must be realistic.) He is 33 now and he is not a machine. He has also played a lot of big matches in the last couple of months. He played fantastic tennis to lead Spain to the Davis Cup at the end of last year, playing for his country under enormous pressure on home soil, often doubling up to play singles and doubles in quick succession. He then had to lead his country again in the ATP Cup (which should be abandoned, moved or merged with the Davis Cup: Note: he played well in Perth, where it is usually hot and dry in the Summer) and not so well in Sydney, where it was very humid. I think the Kyrgios match probably took quite a lot out of Rafa, mentally. It was a fantastic win against a lower ranked but very talented, big hitter, playing at home without pressure. Finally, the playing conditions in Melbourne are not ideal for Rafa. It is often very humid in Melbourne, especially at night, which slows the ball down, taking the fizz off his topspin. Three of his five matches were played in the evening (as the No.1 Seed that is not surprising) but playing at night does him no favours. He usually plays his best tennis during the day in warm, sunny conditions, which enable him to maximise his topspin to great effect. His tennis was almost faultless against his fellow Spaniard last Saturday afternoon, when the playing conditions were perfect for him. I wish he could play all of his matches in the afternoon!

    • LIKE AND APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENT……..SOUNDS 100% RIGHT……….VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) WE LOVE YOU AND VERY HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

  4. Como siempre Rafa un caballero, pero tu para mi seguiras siendo mi n.1 favorito, ganes o pierdas SIEMPRE CONTIGO!!!!, Solo puedo decirte oque te veo fenomenal pars llevar tantos años a ese nivel tan superior, tu tmbn estas hecho un chaval, solo que este abierto siempre se te ha resistido, creo solo creo d haberlo ganado una vez, pero tu estas para dar mucha guerra aún, solo que nunca olvides que al contrincante no le des ni una pizca d oportunidad, TE QUEREMOS VAMOS!!!!

  5. I don’t want Theim to win the tournament. Thinking ahead of time , don’t want him to go to clay season very confident. He is always a threat to Rafa on clay. I hope Theim loses every match from now on till after clay season. Wishful thinking and weir theory but this is how messed up my brain is after last nights match 😐😐😐😐

  6. WELL DONE RAFA✌, YOU PLAYED AN EXCELLENT MATCH, BUT YES INDEED TODAY DOMINIC PLAYED WELL. WE YOUR FANS WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU. RAFA YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN A CHAMPION FOR US🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆. 💜💜💙💖

    GOD BLESS YOU. LOADS N LOADS OF GOOD HEALTH, FOR YOU. HAPPY TO SEE YOU INJURY FREE. THATS WHAT MATTERS THE MOST FOR US. 🤗🤗🤗🤗

    • You hit it on the nail’s head, Positive Thinker-at least Rafa is injury-free at the Oz Open.

      There were times in the past when I thought there was a hoodoo, causing Rafa to be injured in Melbourne, once while playing Wawrinka and another one, when he did his back.

      Health above all else, I’d say.

      There are matches a-plenty, and only one healthy Rafa.

  7. Congrats to Dominic! I always recognized he is also a class act and great player. Rafa fought hard. I am always proud to support Rafa in victory and also loss.

    One champion can’t always be expected to carry the entire sport of tennis. Again, I agree so happy he is healthy and injury free. He did play more tennis than usual before this grand-slam. But you can’t win every match. I am grateful for such incredible competition and intensity. I am grateful the air quality was acceptable for the tournament to go on and happy no player has suffered from playing there. Always a pleasure to watch Rafa compete.

  8. Thank you for the opportunity to watch three of your matches Rafa, two of them were competitive, you won one and lost one. I think you and Dominic played a great match for tennis fans in general, over four hours with tiebreak in three of the four sets but unfortunately it went Dominic’s way because he played better and deserved it more.

    I purchased my tickets in May of last year just to watch you, it will be different the rest of the tournament because you are out but I will still try to enjoy myself, be thankful and grateful of all the good things happen to you in your already amazing career……

    Vamos Rafa💪❤️ Love and respect you the same win or lose!

  9. When will we learn? The AO is not a happy hunting ground for Rafa. Every year since 2009 we repeat this same pattern… Why does Rafa not win in AUSTRALIA? He may not win it again. Let’s make peace with that.

    Same thing with Federer fans I guess, at the FO every year since 2009…why can’t Federer win another FO? He will not win that again. I’m sure his fans have accepted that.

    Same with Wimbledon for Rafa. He will give us some great matches and battles… But falls short somehow. The reasons will vary but the result every year is the same.

    So let’s take the positives. Rafa is injury free. We saw his fighting spirit against Thiem. Our champ still has what it takes to make 2020 a great year. Let’s believe in our boy.

    Thank you for the memories of AO 2020 champ!

  10. I don’t believe Rafa was nervous. His fighting spirit was not wanting.

    But Dominic Thiem played very well.

    Yes there is one blip – the Rafa I know would normally shrug off the chair umpire’s lack of discernment of the physicality of the consecutive two points, the time violation warning called against Rafa did not allow latitude for the specific moment in the match.

    But Rafa showed his displeasure; the Rafa I know would perhaps frown etc, but move on….

    Extreme concentration is required when playing tennis, let alone grand slams. They say concentration is the absence of irrelevant thoughts……

    The chair umpire, the non-working air-conditioning on court…..

    Next time let’s not deviate nor allow people and situations from the reason we’re here: to win.

    It’s only the beginning of the season–time is on our side.

  11. Hey Guys, you win some, you lose some. No sportsman/sportswoman on the face of the earth, has a monopoly on winning. That would be boring.

    Besides the wins are sweeter, because of the losses. Far as I am concerned, Rafa’s tennis balance sheet shows a very healthy Equity indeed! NINETEEN and counting….

    I have always admired Rafa’s response to his losses. It’s easy to be nice when you’ve won; the measure of the man however is how he takes his loss.

    So “NEXT”!

  12. Personally, I think Rafa just got outplayed today…pure and simple…
    As I was watching Dominicks whipping backhand that had such power and strength, I’m thinking …uh oh…. this guy’s been practicing…and practicing alot! From the first set, Rafa fell behind… He’s down a set …then he’s down 2 sets… that’s alot to make up against a player who is just exploding with every hit of the ball…
    Rafa’s forehand down the line shots failed him over and over again…
    It is true…Luck was on Thiem’s side today… He caught the tape of the net 4 times and each time the point went to him,,, and of course he always put his hand up as if to say, sorry… but it seemed like he was doing that so often throughout the match so “luck” was there….

    I did not see a “nervous” Rafa…. He might have gotten momentarily annoyed with the umpire over a time warning or a potential challenge that she refused… He showed his frustration when seated after losing an important point by banging his fist… A natural reaction when a player loses a crucial point or set…
    Hey…Roger got fined today for cursing on the court during yesterdays match…. it happens….

    Bottom line is I saw a different Thiem today…one that was not only determined in his manner but backed it up by making incredible shots… He was a force and the only way Rafa could beat him would be if he
    played a spectacular match and as we witnessed, he did not….

    I agree with all of you…..it’s early in the season … There’s a lot more tennis to come…

    VAMOS RAFA!!!

    • I happen to disagree with you. Rafa to me was nervous from the get go. If he’s not nervous, he won’t be losing his serve while serving for the set. Do note that Rafa has developed such a bad habit of losing his serve while serving for the set or even the match (the Kyrgios match wasn’t the first).

      Rafa wasn’t playing badly but neither was he at his best, yet despite Thiem’s overpowering groundstrokes, speed around the court and his incredible retrieving, Rafa was still a break ahead in the first set and serving for the set. After losing the first set TB, Rafa was still able to break serve in the second set to lead 4-2, but unfortunately he had to lose serve and then played poorly in the TB to lose again.

      It seemed to me when Rafa was ahead, he just got nervous as if eager to hold on to the lead and then became tense and started playing more conservatively; had he carried on being more aggressive, I felt he could have won the second set.

      The third set somehow had proven what I felt to be correct; Rafa didn’t break Thiem’s serve and so all were good with each holding serve until 5-4 Rafa serving first, then in the last game of the set, Rafa broke Thiem and so won the set. Had Rafa broken serve early in the set, I bet he would soon lose the advantage again.

      In all three sets, Rafa was ahead but he was nervous and couldn’t serve well to hold on to the advantage in the first two sets; it’s when Thiem was serving to stay in the set, got a bit nervous, and Rafa was about to lose the match, that Rafa managed to play well enough to break serve to win the set.

      For Rafa, it seemed that when his back was against the wall then he could play his best tennis; but when he’s ahead he played too tentatively as if he was afraid to lose the advantage.

      I don’t know since when Rafa developed such a mentality, I hope Moya could help Rafa overcome such a problem in his game. He obviously has the game to beat Thiem (note that Rafa won most of the short points and Thiem the longer ones), and he’s only five points short of Thiem’s 148. To me Thiem had played his best tennis but Rafa hadn’t so I expect a Rafa who could play his best tennis to beat Thiem when they meet in the future.

  13. It seemed as though your razor sharp focus was not there today. I am sure the NK win was exhausting due to the unpredictable opponent and off court events. But, no excuses. DT deserved
    and earned the win. Recover and stay healthy👏💪👍🤛🙏❤️You know how we hate to see you
    lose😠but thank you for a tremendous AO effort.

  14. Good game. That third game in the 4th? set is where things might have gone Rafa’s way. He didn’t hold serve; and his volley at net should have been a drop volley, imho. Of course, he would have had to make the shot. I also think that Rafa was intimidated by Thiem’s power, speed, and determination. I also wonder if his grip should be different, if that’s possible…..just wondering.

    Looking forward to the French…..number 13! Vamos Rafa!!!!!!

  15. If Rafa improves his service… couple of aces would have got him to a 2 set lead… I hope he gives this a thought because Thiem could be a real threat at the French open this summer.

  16. I’m really depressed. I’m glad I didn’t watch the match. I don’t know why Rafa can’t say he didn’t play so well when he doesn’t. Only when he plays really badly does he mention it. No doubt thiem played well but Rafa just doesn’t pounce on his chances. As some fan said he was really nervous and yes Margo your comments about Rafa doubting himself because of his comments that it would be arrogant not to is also right. I’ve always said he acts too humble and gives too too much respect to the opponent. Believing in oneself and just admitting that one is good, very good is not arrogant. It’s the way one behaves that is important. One can have great humility and unassuming even if one believes in oneself.

    Cmon Rafa please start changing some of your ideas and get a mental coach.

    Best of luck!!

  17. We may throw criticisms Rafa’s way, but at least he is honest and gracious enough to admit that Dominic was the more powerful player who was better on the day and deserved to win. Dominic has been knocking on the door for a while and has come very close on more than one occasion, so it’s no huge surprise that he won.

    As always I love Rafa’s fighting spirit and the positive spin he puts on things (no pun intended 😀). I’m no longer thinking of what could have been in the match today, because that won’t change anything.

    Unlike Mjus, i believe that Rafa WILL get more grand slams before he’s done. He’s fit, healthy and still fast around the court. It’s early days as far as the year goes and there are other grand slam rewards to come for him. Our great champ will keep working to find solutions and keep fighting to make it happen.

    • Lorna. Well said. We need to rejoice that our Champ is healthy and motivated. Win or lose … he has our love and support because he is an awesome human being.

  18. Rafa lost the Match in the first set. He had to serve it out. Great fight, as always nur Rafa was not at his best today.

    Take rest and some days offs. Vamos Rafa ❤️

  19. Let’s see if Thiem can performance and play with same determination the next match or if he only gets inspired when is against Nadal! Because playing like he play vs Rafa, almost perfect he can easy win the tournament! Let’s see if the effort will bet the same!

  20. The loss is very disappointing as Rafa should have won tge first set and did’t dictate the match as he us capable of . Nonetheless , kudo’s to Dominic for tge victory .

  21. Rafa did not play erll at the net and was burned by his serve and volley game . I think Rafa made too many unforced errors andcdidn’t consistently serve well enough . Kudo’s to Thiem for outplaying Rafa . But I am exremely disappointed by this outcome .Rafa could have won by working Thiem’s backhand more as the forehand is too strong for Rafa to stay in the points . Anyway Vamos andbmuch hope for the remainder of 2020 !

  22. Rafa has said so many times “If you don’t have doubt, it probably means that you are being arrogant.” Well, Rafa has so much doubt in himself he probably loses matches he could win.

    Make no mistake about it that Thiem has improved on hard court but he has been working also on the mental aspect of his game. This mental part of the game may very well have carried him over the finish line.

    I am glad I missed this match otherwise I would be a basket case.

    I am wishing Rafa a more fruitful rest of the season.

    • Margo, i agree. Thiem was one dimensional for so long, spraying a lot of balls. Now he has more control of his power more and there is greater variety in his game. His coach, Nicolas Massu has a lot to do with his change in mentality and improved performance. With Rafa much of his problem still lies between the ears. He referred to Thiem’s power and the fact that he is younger. I hope that these two factors are not engraved in his mind.

      • Yes Lorna, I couldn’t remember Massu’s name. He is being credited with helping Domi in so many ways.

        Both you and I have been here for years and gone through discussions about Rafa hiring a sports therapist. I doubt that Rafa would trust anyone outside of his circle. It’s who he is.

        Rafa’s mantra about arrogance sounds like something Toni probably kept telling him from a very young age. When I first heard it years ago I was aghast. I still ask myself where Rafa got that notion.

        I’m glad he’s healthy, as far as I know, and hope for him to get his FO and possibly another USO. I am not worried about him losing his No. 1 position. He’s still my number one player.

        RAFA ROCKS AS ALWAYS

  23. Nadal played very sluggish made lot of mistakes with his forehand. Also he was very nervous and had problems with the heat and the umpire. Nadal squashed a major opportunity. He was serving for the first set and was up a break in the second. I dont understand why he couldnt served out the first set and consolidate the break in the second.

    My feeling is simpley nervous he had a opportunity to equalise federer and that made him nervous. But i think in the end i am happy he lost in the quarterfinal and not in the final

    Right now rafa can not compete with novak on hard court so him reaching the final and then get another beatdown from novak is too much for me

    I think that the final will be between djokovic and zverev and that novak will win Also i think that halep will win the women tournament she is playing very well.

    Nadal 19 titles will stay forever. But it is just too difficult for nadal to win in Australia and Wimbeldon. The only chances for him to win is in Paris and New York.

  24. Rafa you have your chance is ok you play very good it was so close we love you next time champ 🎾👍❤️😘🇺🇸🎾👍❤️😘🌎

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