“Biggest Goal”: Dominic Thiem Targets Rafael Nadal Scalp at French Open 2021

Published 03/08/2021, 1:52 AM EST
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 29: 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 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem has won enough matches on hard courts to establish his credentials on the surface.

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His victory over Roger Federer in the final of the 2019 Indian Wells Masters and maiden Grand Slam title at last year’s US Open has made him a top bet on concrete.

The Austrian’s run to the final of the 2019 Australian Open as well as setting up a title showdown with Russian Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals last year bore further proof of his ever improving hard court game.

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Dominic Thiem made two French Open finals but lost on both occasions to Rafael Nadal

Though he fell at the pre-quarters of this year’s Australian Open, it could qualify as an aberration considering his recent run success on hard courts.

However, if there’s one box that he hasn’t ticked as yet it is to master clay by lifting his first French Open title.

While Roland-Garros is where he has had some his “best results” in Grand Slam tennis, it hasn’t yet brought him the joy of standing on the winner’s podium with the gilded trophy at the end of it all.

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)

He made two finals in 2018 and 2019 but lost on both occasions to the irrepressible Rafael Nadal.

The Austrian reached the last-four in the two previous years but fell to Nadal again in 2017 and current World Number 1 Novak Djokovic in 2016.

He also had success at the junior event when he was aged 18 and 19.

However, keeping his disappointments aside, Thiem has set fresh sights on ending his title jinx at the Roland-Garros this year.

Beating Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros “one of the biggest challenges in the sport”, says Dominic Thiem

A statement released on Laureus.com quotes him as saying, “It’s (winning the French Open) my biggest goal and something I really want to achieve.”

Even as breaking the title hoodoo at Roland-Garros is Thiem’s top target this year, he is mindful that between him and the first French Open title stands the biggest hurdle – the ‘King of Clay’.

“What he (Nadal) has done in that tournament is probably one of the greatest achievements in the history of the sport, and I suppose it is not over yet,” the Austrian said.

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He underlined that beating the Spaniard at Roland-Garros is “one of the biggest challenges in the sport” and he would “love” to do it “while he’s still active”.

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Aware of the enormity of the task at hand, Thiem said “everything has to work one hundred percent” if the current World Number 4 is to be crowned French Open champion this year.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1015 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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