"It would have been better if Thiem won": Nadal on Aussie Open final

"It would have been better if Thiem won": Nadal on Aussie Open final

The Spaniard did, however, congratulate Djokovic for winning his 17th Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

Rafael Nadal has congratulated Novak Djokovic on another victory at the Australian Open, but has not shied away away from saying he was rooting for Dominic Thiem.

"Obviously, yes," Nadal said, speaking to EFE this week at the opening of the new Rafa Nadal Academy in Kuwait. "For me personally, it would have been better if Thiem won."

Djokovic got a five-set win against Thiem for his eighth Australian Open title, and also moved in front of Nadal to No. 1 in the rankings.

Still, Nadal said it hadn't affected him. "It's part of our sport," he stated. "For Novak, this tournament is specially good. And at this very moment, today, he is the best player in the world. That is what the numbers say. And all that can be done is to give congratulations to him on another great victory."

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The win also gave Djokovic 17 Grand Slams, with Nadal holding 19 Grand Slams. The top three, including Roger Federer, have—for more than three seasons—won all the Grand Slams between them.

Nadal noted that 22-year-old Alexander Zverev had reached the semifinal of Melbourne, and though saying the 26-year-old Thiem "can no longer be considered Next Gen," still added, "And obviously, there are many good players who are at a high level."

Nadal played David Ferrer in an exhibition for the academy opening, and next meets Roger Federer for a charity exhibition in South Africa.