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'Rafael Nadal is such a good role model - he is constantly improving,' says Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal celebrates Barcelona Open title 2021

Rafael Nadal is 'such a good role model' because of his constant determination to improve his game, says Dominic Thiem.

Nadal, alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, has dominated the tennis landscape for a decade-and-a-half, and is probably a better player now at 34-years-old than he ever has been.

He will attempt to win a 14th Roland Garros title next month, and he knows that should he achieve it he will take the outright record for most career Grand Slam titles in the men's game.

Two of those French Open titles came against Thiem in the final, and the Austrian says there is far more to admire about Nadal than just the quality of his tennis.

“I think he (Nadal) is constantly improving his game," Dominic Thiem told the press ahead of the Madrid Masters.

“I first played in Buenos Aires in 2016, so over five years ago. Oh no, seven years at Roland Garros.

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"I think since then he’s improved every part of his game. It’s also what you need to do to be successful each new year.

"That is why he is such a good role model.”

Thiem's memory is serving him well. His first match against Nadal was indeed at Roland Garros in 2014 back when the Austrian was the world number 57.

Rafael Nadal won it 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, but Thiem won their next clash 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 in Buenos Aires two years later.

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