Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his third round match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Saturday, January 25, 2020. (AAP Image/Rob Prezioso)
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during his third round match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Saturday, January 25, 2020. (AAP Image/Rob Prezioso)

Nadal admits he doesn’t like Kyrgios’ antics

Rafael Nadal has lit the fuse for an explosive potential fourth-round Australian Open showdown with Nick Kyrgios, admitting he is not a fan of the Canberra firebrand's behaviour.

"It's clear, of course, that when he does stuff that in my opinion is not good, I don't like," Nadal said after steaming into Melbourne Park's fourth round.

"When he plays good tennis and he shows passion for this game, he is a positive player for our tour, and I want my tour bigger, not smaller.

"So the players who make the tour bigger are important for the tour.

"When he's ready to play his best tennis and play with passion, is one of these guys.

"When he's doing the other stuff, of course I don't like."

Nadal thundered into round of 16 by demolishing fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.

Merciless from the outset, world No. 1 Nadal needed just 98 minutes to notch an untroubled 6-1 6-2 6-4 triumph on Rod Laver Arena.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt,"the 2009 Melbourne Park champion beamed.

"Big difference between today and the previous days.

"I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand. Hitting serve on one shot, I think.

 

Rafael Nadal crunches a backhand against Pablo Carreno Busta. Picture: AAP
Rafael Nadal crunches a backhand against Pablo Carreno Busta. Picture: AAP

 

"I feel very sorry for Pablo, he's a friend of mine.

"Great news for me, though, in the fourth round.

"Today, I did some very good serves and then forehands down the line. That is a key shot for me."

Nadal revealed he sat up watching Roger Federer's five-set cliffhanger with John Millman, unable to stop watching the match.

"I saw until 1 o'clock. It was impossible not to watch at the end," the reigning French and US Open champion said.

"It was a very emotional match.

"He's (Millman) a fighter, no? It seems he never stops running. He always has a smile on his face. It's a great attitude."

Nadal rejected criticism of Millman, amid accusations the Queenslander choked.

"I don't want to analyse the match for the last six points, honestly," he said.

"Has been a good match for Millman. Roger, I think, played a little bit up and down.

"But in the fifth he started to push when he was (a) break down. I think he started to play very aggressive.

"The last six points, if you analyse the last six points, I think John made couple of mistakes honestly.

"He was not missing balls, and then he missed with his two serves, two long balls.

"With the 8-7, I think Roger did a small slice down the line. Even John had the chance to hit the passing shot with his forehand. Was long, too.

"Anything could happen, but Federer is Federer."

Posting his 18th consecutive win against Spanish opposition, Nadal could face Kyrgios if the Canberra firebrand topples Russian giant Karen Khachanov.

Nadal and Kyrgios clashed at Wimbledon in July, sharing a pulsating encounter but the world champion wouldn't be drawn on a preferred opponent.

"Both players are great players," he said.

"Nick is always excited to (be) playing at home and Karen is a great player."