Dominic Thiem: ‘Rafael Nadal is in the league of his own at Roland Garros’

The two-time Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem is yet to beat Rafael Nadal in Paris, losing all four encounters against the clay king. In the recent interview, Thiem praised the 13-time Roland Garros winner, putting his Parisian achievements among the greatest in our sport’s history. Nadal has won 13 Roland Garros titles from 16 trips to Paris, winning 100 out of 102 encounters and dominating like no one before him at a single Major! Rafa won the title on debut in 2005, just after turning 19, and suffered only one loss in ten Roland Garros campaigns to stand on nine titles by 2014. In his most challenging years on the Tour, Rafa stayed empty-handed in Paris in 2015 and 2016, losing the second match at his beloved event to Novak Djokovic in 2015 and withdrawing a year later. Starting all over in 2017, Nadal lost only three sets in the previous four years in Paris, restoring the order and achieving many records that should remain unmatched.

Heading to last year’s Roland Garros with only three matches in his legs since February, Rafa had to work hard to beat the rivals and conditions in Paris last October, determined to win the title at the season’s final Major. Dealing with cold and rainy weather, new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal overcame all seven opponents in straight sets and played well above the rest of the field to write history books! Settling into an excellent rhythm right from the start, Rafa lost only 23 games in the opening four matches to sail into the quarters and gain confidence ahead of more challenging encounters.Rafael Nadal has won 13 Roland Garros titles in the past 16 years.

The Spaniard had to give his best against the young Italian Jannik Sinner in the quarter-final, trailing in sets one and two before scoring a 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 triumph in just under three hours. In the semis, Diego Schwartzman kept Nadal on the court for over three hours and had a chance in the third set before Rafa prevailed 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 to set Novak Djokovic title clash. Saving his best tennis for the most formidable opponent, Rafa toppled Novak 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes, controlling the rallies and bringing the victory home for a massive celebration of the 20th Major crown.

„Rafael Nadal is in the league of his own at Roland Garros; I have never managed to beat him there. I’m confident against him at other tournaments, but it becomes extra tough on Court Philippe-Chatrier; it’s one of our sport’s toughest challenges. He lost twice in 16 years in Paris; that’s insane. Rafa should be the favorite in Paris for another year or two, but I will try to beat his this season,“ Dominic Thiem said.

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