Austrian tennis ace Dominic Thiem believes that with a bit of luck one can actually have a chance against Rafael Nadal on clay ahead of his campaign in the Madrid Open and Rome Masters. Thiem also thinks that faster pace and higher bounce could make it easier for the other players against Nadal.
World no.1 Rafael Nadal has returned for the first time since his first title of the year at the Monte-Carlo Masters, viz the Australian Open. The Spaniard's unparalleled dominance on clay has earned him the Barcelona Open title last month, which was his 55th clay Title and 77th overall.
Dominic Thiem would have a mammoth task of stopping someone who has currently been on a 46 consecutive sets victory streak, if and when he comes against him in the Madrid Open. However, an optimistic Thiem stated that faster pace and higher bounce on the courts in Rome or Madrid would post a tough challenge for Nadal making it possible to beat him.
"It's one of the most difficult things in the sport to do that but on a good day for some players, I think it's possible," Thiem said, as quoted on Tennis World USA. "Especially here in Madrid and in Rome. I think the chances are the highest. ... Out of all the clay-court tournaments, I think here and in Rome, it's the most difficult for him. Of course, he's still playing amazing also in these tournaments but for the other players, it's getting a little bit easier because it’s faster and there's a higher bounce," said Thiem, reported IB Times.
"The chances are slightly better, I would say, than in Monte-Carlo, For example, I would say because it’s just faster and a little bit higher bounce and it’s a bunch of players who have chances. Of course, he's the top favorite. If everything goes normal, he's going to win the tournament I would say," he added.
Thiem has remained the only player who was able to beat Nadal on clay last year at the Rome Masters quarter-final clash, where he won straight sets against the Spaniard. And he would be knowing it well that he has to stay at the top of his game from the very first to churn out a major upset.
"It's from the first moment on, he doesn’t give you any air to breathe so if you want to beat him or if you want to compete well with him, you have to do the same. You have to be on fire from the first moment on. Or if you don't do that, it happens like what happened to me in Monte-Carlo – he just kills you, you know? But chances are there if you're playing at a high level from the first moment on," said Thiem
Thiem will face Federico Delbonis in his round of 32