Rafael Nadal accused of ‘disrespecting’ Aussie battler who just clinched career victory with two simple words: ‘Wow, he should do better than that’

By Josh Alston for Daily Mail Australia and Murray Wenzel for the Australian Associated Press

Spanish champion Rafael Nadal has been accused of disrespect after refusing to say his opponent’s name after being beaten by Aussie Jordan Thompson on Friday night.

Thompson saved three match points before turning the tables to beat a returning Rafael Nadal in a late-night Brisbane International quarter-final classic.

The Australian prevailed 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in a Friday night battle that lasted three hours and 25 minutes and ended just before midnight.

Nadal, 37, has had a year of tennis and is hoping for another surge at the Australian Open, where he won against all odds in 2022.

He was humble in defeat and said he had his chances but had to accept that there would be stumbles on the way back.

«After a year I have to accept all these things, you know,» he said.

«It’s normal, things happen.

“Every day is a different story and things are hard after so long.

However, it was what Nadal said next that infuriated Australian fans.

The win over Nadal was the biggest of Thompson’s career and put him into the semifinals of the Brisbane International.

Nadal liked to talk about himself, but only referred to Thompson as an «opponent» during his post-match media conference.

While Nadal may not have known his opposition well, the Australian would have known Thompson after dating The Bachelor’s Brittany Hockley.

«The opponent played well today,» he said.

“He made me play one more ball. I didn’t play badly, but I only missed one ball.»

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Angry fans took to social media and slammed Nadal for forgetting or ignoring Thompson’s name during his media conference.

«Your ‘rival’ Nadal was Jordan Thompson in case you forgot his name,» wrote one fan.

‘Rival?! That’s not enough,» added another.

“Does he know Jordan Thompson’s name? It seems clear not. He refers to him as an «opponent» several times. He should do better than that… a person wrapped up makes a very small package.’

Thompson came back from the brink in the second set, then controlled the third and sealed the match when Nadal overshot his backhand to end the longest rally of the match.

Nadal hasn’t played tennis for a year and took a medical timeout at the end of the match against Thompson

Thompson now has a chance to win a home tournament and break into the world’s top 40

Nadal, who took an injury break last year to treat pain in the same hip that required career-saving surgery last year, walked over to Thompson’s side of the net and embraced the Australian.

“He was one of my idols growing up,” Thompson said.

“I loved Lleyton (Hewitt), I loved Andy Murray, I loved Rafa.

“It was strange to share the court again and it was a completely different feeling to take it off.

The 29-year-old Sydney talent’s victory capped a week for the Australian men following Alex de Minaur’s defeat of world number one Novak Djokovic at the United Cup on Wednesday.

‘Unreal. Australians in Australia playing good tennis, making good names, they have to be good for the country,” Thompson said.

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Thompson’s task is to back up against second seed and former world number three Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday night for a place in Sunday’s final against either top seed Holger Rune of Denmark or well-seeded Russian Roman Safiullin.

Thompson is ranked 55th in the world and is poised to get back into the top 50 and could break into the top 40 if he wins the tournament.

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