Rafael Nadal pulled off ‘one of the best tournaments in history’ to win the French Open last year, says Dominic Thiem.
Nadal won his 13th title at Roland Garros in October, not dropping a set through the entire tournament and then bageling world number one Novak Djokovic in the final.
The Spaniard will once again be a big favourite to win another when the event comes around again in May, and Thiem knows how hard it will be for anyone else to win – but also how meaningful.
“What Rafa has done at Roland Garros is probably one of the most outstanding achievements in the sport’s history, and I suppose it is not over yet,” Thiem told reporters.
“Last year, Rafa played perhaps one of the best tournaments in history at 34, so he’s the guy to beat.
“Beating him on the Roland Garros centre court would be one of the biggest challenges in the sport, so I’d love to do it while he’s still active.”
Despite acknowledging how tough it will be to overcome the Nadal factor at the French Open, Thiem says it is the tournament he would most like to win this year.
“Roland Garros is by far the tournament where I have had the best results in the past.
“A long time ago, I played the final in the junior event ten years ago, aged 18 and 19.
“After winning that first Major title at the last year’s US Open, Roland Garros is my biggest goal and something I want to achieve.
“Roland Garros title is something I want to achieve this year, but at the same time, I know that everything has to be perfect; otherwise, it will not happen.”
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