Novak Djokovic says winning trophies is not his main motivation as he sets out to have a career-best season in 2020.

Djokovic got the year off to a flying start, defeating Dominic Thiem to retain his Australian Open title and reclaiming the world number one spot from Rafael Nadal in the process.

The 17-time grand slam champion has now outlined his intention to have the best season of his career in 2020, as he aims to go all the way to gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, Djokovic insisted it is his love of tennis that inspires him, rather than the pursuit of trophies.

"For me, while everyone talks about trophies, that creates a lot of tension," Djokovic said at a news conference in Belgrade.

"I have my goals of course, trophies can make me proud and happy in the moment, but they can't fulfil me in life.

"My main inspiration is the joy I feel while I am holding a racquet. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't be here. If I don't nurture that initial love then I can't be fulfilled. 

"I am motivated and inspired to have my best season this year. It is an Olympic year, which means that the schedule will be busy, not just for me, but for all the top players.

"There will be little room for rest after Wimbledon. I had the honour of winning a bronze medal in 2008 and somehow feel that maybe the time has come for another medal, I hope. I will do everything in my power to reach the peak at the Olympics."

Despite his success, Djokovic has never been able to capture the adoration of tennis crowds in the same way that Rodger Federer and Nadal have, yet the 32-year-old does not believe he is disliked.

"A lot has been written about how I am not loved. I don't like to talk about myself, but my personal impression is that I have a lot of support and sympathy for me," he said.

"When I play Federer or Nadal, the crowd supports them but that doesn't mean I am hated and that I should turn the whole of the Serbian public against the world.

"Even if people don't love me everywhere, why would I want to add fuel to the fire? I don't want to put too much attention on it, I don't want to deal with or think about negative emotions, hatred or anger. Sometimes I get distracted, I have outbursts.

"I admit that and I am not proud of it but I am a human being that makes mistakes and I try to become better every day.

"If I invest my energy in these stories that I am not loved, that story will keep growing and why would I want that?"

Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal smashed the world record for attendance at a tennis match as the superstars went head-to-head in the Match in Africa.

A record-breaking 51,954 fans watched the charity exhibition at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday – 20-time grand slam champion Federer beating Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Federer and Alexander Zverev had previously set the record when they attracted 42,217 spectators for their exhibition in Mexico in November.

Organised by Federer's foundation, the Swiss sensation teamed up with Microsoft owner Bill Gates to face Nadal and South African-born Daily Show host Trevor Noah for a doubles encounter.

Federer and Gates were too good for Nadal and Noah, winning 6-3 to open proceedings in South Africa.

Rugby World Cup winner and South Africa star Siya Kolisi presented Federer with a Springboks jersey before the showpiece event on Friday.

Federer then outlasted Nadal – who is one title adrift of his enduring rival's all-time slam record – in the sixth edition of the Match in Africa.

Both players travelled to South Africa after their Australian Open campaigns did not go according to plan, Federer beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, while top seed Nadal was upstaged by runner-up Dominic Thiem in the quarters.

Roger Federer said only Rafael Nadal could make Sunday's exhibition "truly special" for those in attendance in Cape Town.

Swiss great Federer will face off against his most famous rival in the sixth edition of the Match for Africa series, organised by the 20-time grand slam winner's foundation.

Federer will team up with Microsoft owner Bill Gates to face Nadal and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who was born in South Africa, for a doubles encounter before the two tennis greats meet in a singles match.

When planning to host the event in Cape Town, Federer only had one opponent in mind and said he had been trying to enlist Nadal's help for some time.

"I have been thinking about this idea for a few years now and I always ask myself the question: where, with whom, how big, how small should it be?" Federer told a news conference.

"The initial idea was let's just get one done so at least I did play here and the people got to see me, my family that I still have here got to see me.

"As the idea grew and it ended up let's try to go big and we went bigger and bigger. For me at one point when I realised something very special could happen, for me it was only Rafa who could make this event truly special for the people here. 

"I have the connection to Rafa and if somebody could maybe bring him down to South Africa it is me. I asked him and he said yes right away.

"We have been fighting over a date for the last two years so I finally got one out of him. He wanted to do it earlier. We were both ready, but there was just too much going on with our schedules.

"I couldn't be more excited to see Rafa arriving tomorrow morning."

Novak Djokovic is aiming to win a fifth grand slam in seven at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The Serbian faces Dominic Thiem in the final in Melbourne looking to extend his record to eight titles in the tournament and repeat his 2019 triumph.

It is continuing another dominant period for the 16-time grand slam champion, a spell which began at Wimbledon in 2018.

But how does his recent run of success compare to his previous triumphs, as well as those enjoyed by his 'Big Three' rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal?

Federer – 8 in 10, 2005-07

The Swiss great was almost unstoppable for a period beginning at Wimbledon in 2005. From 2003 at the All England Club to the 2010 Australian Open, Federer incredibly won 16 of 27 grand slams, with a couple of separate utterly stunning runs. From Wimbledon 2005 to the 2007 US Open, Federer won eight of the 10 majors and was beaten in the finals of the other two. Only Nadal at the French Open (2006 and 2007) could deny Federer, who enjoyed wins over Andy Roddick (twice), Andre Agassi, Marcos Baghdatis, Nadal (twice), Fernando Gonzalez and Djokovic in deciders during that period. Starting at Wimbledon 2004, Federer also won 10 of 14 majors, but he has just four grand slams since 2011.

Djokovic – 6 in 8, 2014-16

The Serbian star began to make the most of his opportunities, starting from midway through 2014. Heading into that tournament, Djokovic had made 13 grand slam finals but won just six. However, since the Wimbledon final six years ago, he has won 10 major deciders and lost just two. A thrilling five-set final against Federer started the run before he reclaimed his Australian Open title. Stan Wawrinka upset him in the decider in Paris before the beginning of the 'Nole Slam', Djokovic winning four straight majors to hold every grand slam trophy simultaneously. A shock third-round exit to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in 2016 ended a 30-match winning run at majors for Djokovic, who would have to wait until 2018 for his next grand slam title.

Nadal – 4 in 5, 2010-11

In an extraordinary career, Nadal has won just one Australian Open and two Wimbledon titles, impacting his runs. The Spaniard's best year in terms of major titles was 2010, when he claimed three before adding another at Roland Garros in 2011. Stunned by Robin Soderling in his first French Open loss in 2009, Nadal brushed the Swede aside in the final the following year, kick-starting a run of three straight major wins. Tomas Berdych and Djokovic were beaten in the Wimbledon and US Open deciders respectively, but his bid to hold all four at once was ended in the quarter-finals in Melbourne, where he suffered a hamstring injury and fell to David Ferrer. But, back in Paris, Nadal won a sixth French Open crown.

Dominic Thiem says he or Alexander Zverev must win the Australian Open to "break a barrier" at Melbourne Park after he dumped Rafael Nadal out at the quarter-final stage.

Thiem had lost all five grand slam encounters with Nadal before coming out on top in a thriller on Wednesday, winning 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (8-6) at Rod Laver Arena.

The Austrian, twice a runner-up to Nadal at the French Open, and Zverev will do battle on Friday for the right to face Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in the final.

Zverev said he felt he had overcome one major obstacle by reaching his maiden major semi-final this week, but Thiem says the younger players still have a long way to go before there can be any talk of a changing of the guard.

"I don't feel really like that I broke a barrier. It was just an unbelievable match, like an epic one, four hours 10 [minutes]," the 26-year-old said of his titanic tussle with 19-time major winner Nadal.

"That's what I'm most happy about. Also, of course, that I'm for the first time in the semis of the Australian Open. That's for me a barrier. But to really break a barrier, one young player has to win a slam.

"Yes, one of us going to be in the finals. But it's still a very long way to go. I mean, the other semi-final is still two of the big three.

"I think we are a pretty long way from overtaking or from breaking this kind of barrier."

Thiem is relishing the opportunity to face Zverev, 22, with so much on the line and is expecting a tight contest against the seventh seed, who has won just two of their eight ATP Tour matches.

The fifth seed added: "We know each other. For me, it's funny because it's first time in a grand slam semi-final I face a younger guy. We're good friends, I'm happy for him, as well, that he's playing so good here.

"He made his breakthrough at a grand slam. We have no secrets from each other. We played so many times, also on very special occasions already, at the ATP Finals, semis, French Open quarters.

"It's a nice rivalry we have. It's great that we add an Australian Open semi-finals to this one and it's going to be a close match again.

"If two top-10 players play each other in the semis of a slam, the deciding moments are very small, small margins. I'm looking forward to it. I try to regenerate as good as possible and then try to be 100 per cent ready for Friday."

Rafael Nadal was sad to suffer defeat to Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open, but insisted he was satisfied with his performance, as well as his attitude, in the quarter-final clash.

Thiem beat Nadal for the first time in six attempts at a grand slam with a tense 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (8-6) win in four hours and 10 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

The Austrian progresses to meet Alexander Zverev in the semi-final on Friday, while the world number one is left to reflect on a missed opportunity to draw level with Roger Federer on 20 major titles.

But Nadal had few complaints after the loss, praising Thiem as a worthy winner.

"He's playing great," the 33-year-old said of Thiem. "He's playing with a lot of energy, aggression, determination. So just well done to him.

"I honestly didn't play a bad match, no, no. My attitude was great during the whole match. 

"Of course, I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semi-finals of another grand slam. But I lost against a great opponent and he deserved it too.

"[I was] good, positive, fighting spirit all the time, giving myself more chances. That's what I tried. I did not give up in one moment during the whole match and gave myself an opportunity until the last point.

"Happy for that because my level of concentration and tennis was better. I think the concentration was even better than the tennis, but the tennis was not bad at all."

Nadal, who had 49 winners to 33 unforced errors and converted four of his nine break points, found the conditions difficult at times.

The Spaniard added: "It was difficult to play against him. [I'm] happy, but I need a little bit more determination in some moments - it's true that in some moments conditions have been a little bit heavy.

"Honestly, when the ball was new for me, I was better. I had two breaks and I felt more comfortable with the new balls.

"Then the ball became so heavy. He's younger, he's very quick. With these heavy balls, it's difficult to produce winners sometimes. He has a lot of power, so he's able to produce these amazing shots from a very difficult position."

Nadal, who only lost five fewer points than Thiem across the match, was asked if he felt there was any more he could have done to find a way to win.

"Yes - win any tie-break!" he said. "But that's how it works. Sometimes things are not going the way that you would like. It has been a very good match with a good level of tennis.

"I had a big chance with 5-3 in the first. I had set point serving. That was a very important moment of the match, for sure. Then I didn't play a good tie-break. I was back in the second set, but he played with the right determination.

"He played great matches against me in the past too, great quality tennis. We like each other in terms of character - I like his attitude and probably he likes mine too! 

"We have things that we can compare with each other in some ways and I wish him all the very best for the rest of the tournament."

Dominic Thiem produced a magnificent display to avoid more major misery at the hands of Rafael Nadal and reach his first Australian Open semi-final at the expense of the world number one.

Nadal had won all five grand slam encounters with Thiem - including two French Open finals - but the Austrian dumped the top seed out with a stunning 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (8-6) victory in four hours and 10 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Thiem had never reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park before this week, but will face Alexander Zverev in the last four after coming through a huge, tense battle on a warm Wednesday evening.

Top seed Nadal had disagreements with chair umpire Aurelie Tourte as his hopes of winning a 20th grand slam title were ended in a pulsating contest.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will renew their rivalry with a 50th meeting when they do battle in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The all-time greats have been on contrasting runs in Melbourne, where seven-time champion Djokovic will enter their clash on Thursday as favourite.

But Federer cannot be written off in the semi-final encounter most were hoping for once the draw was made.

We take a closer look at the pair ahead of the showdown.

Form and results

For the first time in his career, Federer has reached a grand slam semi-final without facing a top-40 player, but the Swiss 20-time grand slam champion has made hard work of his run. He was tested by John Millman and Tennys Sandgren, saving an incredible seven match points against the latter. Federer appeared to be battling injury during the clash against the American world number 100, but was later hopeful it was "just pain and problems" amid worries over his groin.

R1: bt Johnson 6-3 6-2 6-2
R2: bt Krajinovic 6-1 6-4 6-1
R3: bt Millman 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8)
R4: bt Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2
QF: bt Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3

Djokovic, meanwhile, has been relatively untroubled since a brief hiccup in the opening round against Jan-Lennard Struff. Having been particularly pleased with his serve, the Serbian star has dominated, dropping just one set. Djokovic has won 84 per cent of his first-serve points, which is behind only Ivo Karlovic and Thiago Monteiro – who played two and one matches at the tournament respectively.

R1: bt Struff 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1
R2: bt Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2
R3: bt Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2
R4: bt Schwartzman [14] 6-3 6-4 6-4
QF: bt Raonic [32] 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1)

Next up

Djokovic is the favourite in the 50th meeting between the all-time greats, his form and condition seemingly giving him the upper-hand against Federer. He holds a 26-23 record over the 38-year-old, but was beaten in straight sets when they met at the ATP Finals late last year. At grand slams, Djokovic holds a 10-6 record, while he has won three of their four Australian Open meetings. Djokovic is unstoppable when he gets to this stage in Melbourne – he has won the tournament every time he has reached the semi-finals.

Draw

Whoever secures a spot in the final will face Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev or Stan Wawrinka.

What they said

Federer: "I think conditions suit us well here. Start the year strong, probably something to do with court speed, feeling comfortable down here."

Djokovic: "Roger is Roger. You know that he's always going to play on such a high level, regardless of the surface. He loves to play these kinds of matches, big rivalries, semis, finals of grand slams."

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem reignite what is a growing rivalry with a quarter-final clash at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Thiem is shaping as the successor to Nadal's crown at Roland Garros, where he has fallen to the Spaniard in two French Open finals.

The Austrian has enjoyed some success over Nadal previously and with the courts playing slow at Melbourne Park, this appears set to be a battle.

We take a closer look at Nadal's form ahead of the quarter-final showdown.

 

Form and results

Nadal needed a strong performance to overcome the dangerous Nick Kyrgios and he delivered on Rod Laver Arena. The world number one and 19-time grand slam champion hit 64 winners and just 27 unforced errors in an impressive display. While scratchy in a second-round win over Federico Delbonis, Nadal has been relatively untroubled otherwise in Melbourne.

R1: bt Dellien 6-2 6-3 6-0
R2: bt Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-1
R3: bt Carreno Busta [27] 6-1 6-2 6-4
R4: bt Kyrgios [23] 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4)

Next up

His toughest test yet awaits in fifth seed Thiem, a player who has beaten Nadal in four of their 13 meetings. Incredibly, 12 of those have been on clay, a surface they both love, with the only hard-court clash proving a thriller Nadal edged in a fifth-set tie-break after almost five hours at the US Open in 2018. Thiem has been forced to battle at different times at the year's opening grand slam, but is coming off a straight-sets win over Gael Monfils. Nadal holds a 6-5 win-loss record in Australian Open quarter-finals, something which should give Thiem some hope.

Draw

If Nadal can get past Thiem, a semi-final clash against Stan Wawrinka or Alexander Zverev awaits in a seemingly favourable draw. Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer would likely follow in the final.

What he said

"It's a very tough match. He's playing well. I saw him play today against Gael. He was playing a very high level of tennis. We know each other well. He's a player that I like him a lot, the way that he works, the way that he plays, and the way that he tries his best always. It's a match that's going to be a tough one, but will be interesting. I am excited to play this quarter-final against Dominic. I know I have to be at my best to have chances. I think I am moving in the right direction. Every day I'm playing a little bit better."

Nick Kyrgios mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant but said the NBA legend's achievements were an inspiration to him during his Australian Open clash with Rafael Nadal.

Home hope Kyrgios walked onto the court wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey adorned with the number eight Bryant made famous at the start of his two-decade career with the franchise. 

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Taking to Rod Laver Arena the following day, an emotional Kyrgios succumbed to a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) loss against the world number one, but revealed Bryant's passing had been on his mind.

"I never met Kobe but basketball is practically my life. I watch it every day. I've been following it for as long as I can remember," said Kyrgios.

"When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day. Obviously I was having basketball on at my house, watching the games. It was heavy. It's just tough. It's horrible news.

"If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight. When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back."

Kyrgios is a fan of the Boston Celtics, a side who were often on the receiving end of Bryant's brilliance, but the 24-year-old had long admired the five-time NBA champion's skill and dedication to his craft.

"I'm a Celtic fan. When I saw Kobe do what he does, break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see," he said.

"I don't think they make them like him anymore. He was different, the way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played. He was special."

Rafael Nadal conceded nerves almost got the better of him at one stage against Nick Kyrgios but feels he is playing better every day after booking an Australian Open quarter-final against Dominic Thiem.

The world number one hit 64 winners to just 27 unforced errors to impressively beat a motivated Kyrgios 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) in a tense fourth-round encounter.

While the Australian acknowledged Nadal had performed better than him on the biggest points, the Spaniard noted he had struggled at one key period on Monday.

Serving for the match at 5-4 up in the fourth set, he lost the game to allow Kyrgios back into the match and had to make a gutsy hold soon after just to force a second tie-break, which he ultimately won.

"I played a bad game, that's true," said Nadal. "I was playing great with my serve, winning all the games with very positive feelings. 

"In the 5-4 game, like everybody, I get a little bit more nerves, I was nervous at that moment.

"I played a bad game. I accept I was more nervous at that moment. I am humble enough to accept that sometimes I am nervous and I can have mistakes. That's what happened.

"I kept going, because in the next game I have 15-40 again. I was not able to achieve the break but I said after it got to 6-5, 'I need to forget the bad game with my serve, we are still very close to the victory'. 

"I needed to play with the right determination until the end of this set. I can lose, I can win, but I cannot play with more nerves than what I should. I did it already once, and I didn't want to repeat that. 

"And I think I didn't – in the 6-5 I played a great game with my serve. In the tie-break, I was serving well. I played a solid tie-break.

"Anything could happen in the tie-breaks. Both of them have been very close."

Nadal is optimistic about the state of his game after reaching a 12th Australian Open quarter-final, with the Kyrgios match being the first time he has dropped a set at the tournament.

He added: "I am moving in the right direction. Every day I'm playing a little bit better.

"Very tough match next against Dominic. He's playing well. I saw him play against Gael Monfils and he was playing tennis at a very high level.

"We know each other well. He's a player that I like a lot, the way that he works, the way that he plays, and the way that he tries his best always.

"It is a match that going to be a tough one, but it will be interesting, no? I am excited to play this quarter-final. I know I have to be at my best to have chances."

Nick Kyrgios conceded he was "shattered" to have a lost his tense fourth-round match against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, but spoke of his appreciation for the world number one.

Amid an apparent softening of relations between the two rivals, Nadal praised Kyrgios in his on-court interview after winning a close encounter 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) in three hours and 38 minutes.

Having overcome a worthy opponent, Nadal said the 24-year-old could contend at any tournament if he maintains his level of performance.

The scoreline was the same as when he beat Kyrgios at Wimbledon last year, but the Australian felt he was much closer to securing an upset victory this time.

"I mean, I appreciate it," Kyrgios said when he was asked about Nadal's comments.

"I've known that for the last four years but the trouble for me is being able to actually just produce the same attitude over and over again. Hopefully I can keep doing it. I'm just taking it day by day, trying to be positive, just bring positive vibes.

"Rafa was really good. Played too good. The court was really, really slow. I just couldn't get a ball past him. 

"I was trying to serve and volley, trying to dropshot. Eventually I would have to win the point three times to win a point. That's just the champion he is, the player he is. 

"He makes you play the extra ball. He played well, considering how slow [the court] was. He served really well, hit his backhand slice really well. He just played the bigger points better than I did.

"I'm shattered to have lost. Obviously these are the matches that I want to win the most. I had chances. I was a couple of points away from the third set and the fourth set.

"It felt a lot closer this time, especially in the 5-5 game in the third set where I was at deuce a couple times. He played some unbelievable points. I felt like if I got that third set, I would have really, really been on top of him.

"I was kind of feeling the match turn a little bit. If I break in that game, I thought I was going to raise my intensity, my energy. I definitely felt a lot closer this time around. The one at Wimbledon, I felt like I wasn't playing as good."

Kyrgios has been pleased with his progress on and off the court over the past month after an emotional period where he inspired fundraising efforts for the bushfire crisis in Australia.

And his tournament is not yet over with a mixed doubles campaign alongside Amanda Anisimova ongoing.

Kyrgios added: "Overall all this summer has been fun. My focus shifts to mixed now.

"I just want to go out there and have fun. I'm still in the tournament. I'm not going to take it for granted, another day at the Australian Open.

"I think I'm playing better tennis than I was [in making the 2015 quarter-finals]. You look at my draw back then to the opponents I played this time around, probably a lot tougher this time.

"I felt good. I actually felt fresh. I was ready to go five if it needed to get there.

"I feel like I've made progress as a human. A tennis player, I don't really care about as much, but I feel good and for sure I want to keep going in this direction."

Rafael Nadal survived a fourth-round test at the Australian Open, but Daniil Medvedev fell to Stan Wawrinka in Melbourne on Monday.

Nadal overcame Nick Kyrgios in a huge battle on Rod Laver Arena, reaching the quarter-finals at the year's first grand slam for the 12th time.

The man he conquered in last year's US Open final, Medvedev, fell short in a five-set thriller against Wawrinka.

Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev's impressive run continued and Dominic Thiem also advanced to the last eight.

 

NADAL GETS PAST KYRGIOS

Nadal needed three hours, 38 minutes and a fine performance to edge past Kyrgios 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4).

The world number one, who has endured a frosty relationship with the Australian, hit 64 winners and made just 27 unforced errors in his win.

A visibly emotional Kyrgios warmed up for the blockbuster clash in a Kobe Bryant jersey, paying tribute after the Los Angeles Lakers great's death on Sunday.

The 23rd seed fought hard as the pair put on a show, but was left to rue costly errors in the two tie-breaks.

Nadal will face Thiem, who powered past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 in under two hours, as the Spaniard's bid to join Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles continues.

Thiem, 26, reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time.

 

RESURGENT WAWRINKA OVERCOMES MEDVEDEV

Champion in Melbourne in 2014, Wawrinka produced what was the only upset of the day – at least by ranking – as he eliminated Medvedev.

The Swiss three-time grand slam champion claimed his first win in three meetings with the Russian fourth seed, winning 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

After failing to go beyond the third round of any major in 2018, Wawrinka reached two quarters in 2019 and is into the last eight in Melbourne for the first time since 2017 – the year he underwent knee surgery.

The loss saw Medvedev fall to a 0-6 win-loss record in five-setters in his career.

"As I say, I don't like to play five sets," he told a news conference. "I get tired. Even though I'm there, I want to win it. As I say, at this moment, didn't win one in my life. We'll try better next time."

 

ZVEREV'S CLASSY RUN CONTINUES

Next up for Wawrinka is Zverev, who is yet to drop a set after impressively brushing past Russian 17th seed Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4.

Zverev, the German seventh seed, did not face a break point on his way to the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time.

It also marked the first time Zverev has reached the quarters at a major other than the French Open, where he lost in the last eight in 2018 and 2019.

"He showed why he's a grand slam champion, beating Medvedev, coming back from two sets to one down, playing great tennis," Zverev said about Wawrinka.

"He's still one of the toughest players to play, especially here in Australia."

Rafael Nadal encouraged Nick Kyrgios to continue with the same attitude he showed at the Australian Open after the Spaniard won their fourth-round clash on Monday.

World number one Nadal survived a test against Kyrgios, reaching the quarter-finals courtesy of a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) win on Rod Laver Arena.

The pair have endured a frosty relationship in the past but were largely respectful throughout, while Kyrgios' latest performance looked another step in the right direction for the volatile Australian.

Nadal said the 24-year-old was one of the best players on the ATP Tour and needed to continue with his improved attitude.

"What can I say again about Nick? When he's playing like today with a positive attitude, he gives lots of positive things to our sport," the Spaniard said in an on-court interview.

"I encourage him to keep working like this because he's one of the highest talents we have on our tour.

"I like the Nick Kyrgios of this tournament."

Kyrgios had warmed up for the clash in a Kobe Bryant jersey after the Los Angeles Lakers great's death.

Nadal also paid tribute to Bryant, who died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

"He always wanted more, he always wanted to increase his level," he said.

"He was a true inspiration for the world of sport and for a lot of kids, so it's one of these days that you want to forget.

"But of course, Kobe Bryant will be in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives."

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