Tennis great Rafael Nadal has lauded Australia as an "amazing" example of how to control the coronavirus.
Nadal finished his 14-day quarantine in an Adelaide hotel on Friday and, that night, returned to the court for an exhibition match against Dominic Thiem.
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The Spaniard prevailed 7-5 6-4 at Memorial Drive and hailed Australia's handling of COVID-19.
"It has been a very hard year for all the world in general and for us in Spain we were hit very hard from the virus, we are still in a very tough situation," Nadal said post-match.
"I think Australia is an amazing, positive example of how to make things the right way to control the pandemic, so many congratulations.
"The last two weeks have been great, honestly. It’s not ideal to stay 14 days in quarantine but that’s the way it has to be done.
"We can't thank enough South Australia and Tennis Australia. This is an amazing pleasure to be in Adelaide and to play again in front of you guys. We missed you a lot."
World No.3 Thiem was similarly appreciative of Australia's coronavirus protocols.
"It has been a very tough year for everybody," Thiem said.
"Now ... is a time to be really thankful and grateful for today, for Australia, for everything that you guys did for us."
Tennis stars put on exhibition show after quarantine
World No.2 Nadal and Thiem were among a batch of tennis' elite including Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams who spent 14 days in quarantine in Adelaide.
Djokovic twice stunned the Adelaide crowd on Friday: he initially withdrew from his exhibition match but then made a surprise return to play a set, which he won 6-3 against Jannik Sinner.
Djokovic's camp cited a blister on his right hand as the reason for his withdrawal before the world No.1 opted to play through the discomfort.
"It's just a case whether that pain is bearable or not," he said.
"Coming off from the hard training block and having ATP Cup and the Australian Open around the corner, you don't want to risk it too much.
"But the emotion in me was so strong ... seeing the full stands, I had to play."
The tennis stars next travel to Melbourne for the ATP Cup starting Sunday ahead of the Australian Open beginning February 8.
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