Rafael Nadal had nothing but compliments for opponent Dominic Thiem after taking a 7-6(7), 7-6(4) loss to the Austrian in group play at the ATP Finals on Tuesday.

Nadal’s London letdown lasted for two and a half hours and marked his second straight defeat by the player he has defeated twice in French Open finals.

Austria’s No. 3 also beat the Spaniard in an Australian Open quarter-final in January.

“Just  well done to him, he played an amazing match, and I played well too,” the ATP No. 2 said after his defeat in an empty O2 Arena due to COVID-19. 

“My feeling is not negative. I lost, but I had plenty of chances in the first and then I was a  break up in the second.

“I’m happy with the way I played. My chances are bigger to have a very good result now (next group match) than five days ago.

“The level of tennis – even if I lost today – for me is much higher.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion who has never lifted a trophy at the year-ender in 10 appearances including two finals, added:

“I did all the things well during the match, the only negative thing: I was not able to convert some key points (which would have) made the biggest difference in the match.”

Nadal does not begrudge the fact that he has never won the season-wrapup event.

“It’s true I’ve won the Finals. But it’s no problem. I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances.

“My goal is just to keep going, I have a match against (Stefanos) Tsitsipas in two days. 

“It will be another tough one. But playing like this I’m confident that I can have my chances in the tournament.”

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