“Constantly Improving His Game”: Dominic Thiem on Why Rafael Nadal Is an Ideal Role Model

Published 05/01/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Rafael Nadal (R) of Spain and Dominic Thiem (L) of Austria pose prior the men’s singles final match at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France on June 09, 2019. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


World No. 4 Dominic Thiem is one of the next-generation players that has cemented his status in tennis. Amongst the relatively new lot of players, he was the first to lift a Grand Slam title. He has also registered wins against the big three on numerous occasions, which in this era is no mean feat. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Recently, Dominic Thiem praised Rafael Nadal for being an ideal role model for youngsters. The Spaniard’s ability to adapt to changes and the desire to win is what separates him from the rest of the players on Tour. Over the years, Rafa has been very consistent with his performances.

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem congratulate themselves at the end of the Men Final of the 2018 French Open – Day Fithteen at Roland Garros on June 10, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Rindoff Petroff/Suu/Getty Images)

While talking highly of Nadal, Thiem stated, “I was preparing in Austria, I was doing a lot of physical training, a lot of tennis training. I think I’m at a good level. The second question about Rafa, I think he’s constantly improving his game.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

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

(Quotes translated using Google translate)

Dominic Thiem faced Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2014 for the first time

The Austrian athlete fondly remembers his first match against Rafael Nadal. They faced each other during the French Open 2014, and the Spaniard won the match in straight sets. Since then, they have played each other 14 times, and although Rafa has the upper hand in their rivalry, it is Thiem who has improved with each passing match. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Dominic Thiem of Austria and Rafael Nadal of Spain embrace at the net following their Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2020, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Coming to the current season, Rafa won the Barcelona Open for the 12th time last week. He won an epic thriller against Greek tennis sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas. On the other hand, Thiem has not played any event for a brief period; he took the time off to regroup himself after a string of poor results. 

At the moment, both players are in Madrid, ready to compete for the title. Nadal will be looking to win his sixth title at the venue, whereas Dominic will be looking to perform to the best of his abilities. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Mutua Madrid Open 2021 Draw and Bracket: Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in the Same Half, Daniil Medvedev Handed an Easy Path

13 days ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Rohan Kollare

595 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT