Prior to the 2014 Australian Open, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem engaged in an exhibition encounter in Adelaide. Given that they both dealt with injuries and finished the season sooner than anticipated, Rafa prevailed, and it ended up being their only encounter in 2021.
When asked about Nadal, Thiem listed the Spaniard with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the three most important men’s tennis players. Dominic said that meeting Rafa and playing on the same court as such a great competitor was an honor and a privilege.
Between 2014 and 2020, Nadal and Thiem competed in 15 matches, with the Austrian taking the victory no fewer than six times, including four spectacular victories on clay. By defeating Thiem once in the semifinals and twice in the title matches, Nadal prevented Thiem from winning the Roland Garros trophy in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Dominic defeated Rafa at the 2020 Australian Open in four hours and ten minutes, winning 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6! The Austrian won his way into his sixth Major semifinal, his first off clay, where he would play Alexander Zverev for a spot in the championship match.
Thiem was the more aggressive player and won the crucial points in the first two sets to gain a significant edge. Rafa was far behind in the longer rallies as Dominic outscored him by five points, smashing 65 winners to keep the points on his racquet.
As the outcome indicates, the Spaniard had opportunities in each of the three sets he dropped but failed to capitalize, giving the Austrian the victory by giving way under duress.
It was a privilege for Dominic Thiem to meet and compete against Rafael Nadal, he claims.
Their most recent match, which took place at the ATP Finals last year, was quite close.
To keep his perfect record in London, Dominic defeated Rafa in one of the best matches of the season, 7-6, 7-6, in two hours and 25 minutes. If we count the Australian Open, the Austrian overcame every challenge in a remarkable match, defeating Rafa six times and earning five straight tie breaks over the Spaniard.
In games 7 and 8 of set number two, there were only two service breaks. They played tennis that was excellently matched and worthy of the championship match the entire time they were neck and neck. Thiem and Nadal aren’t competing in Montreal this week, but if the Austrian decides to play the US Open, we might see their matchup there.
“One of the three men’s tennis GOATs is Rafael Nadal. It was a pleasure to get to know him and frequently sit in court with him “said Dominic Thiem.