Rafael Nadal’s Coach Feels There Is No Difference Between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem

Published 05/22/2021, 6:27 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after winning the final REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


It’s French Open time, and tennis star Rafael Nadal is in the headlines again. Austrian player Dominic Thiem and Serbian star Novak Djokovic are some of the biggest threats he faces at his favorite Grand Slam. 

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Recently, Nadal‘s coach Francisco Roig spoke on the two athletes who have come close to troubling the Spaniard on clay in many instances in the recent past. He found similarities between the two great players when they play on the clay courts.

Roig believes that while the Austrian player has dipped in form, he will bounce back and can produce successful results at Roland Garros. 

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LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain shows his frustration after a point as team member Francisco Roig looks on during a training session prior to the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on on November 14, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 53-year-old said, “Of course, if Thiem regains the rhythm and confidence that he usually shows on clay, I would say that I do not see differences between him and Djokovic.

“Since he won the US Open, he has dropped a bit, but I’m sure that for Roland Garros, he will be at the necessary level and will be a very tough opponent.”

Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic could pose a threat to Rafael Nadal

Roig believes Thiem is a complete player; he believes that if Thiem is offered too much room in a match, it becomes difficult for the opponent to stay alive in the point. Nadal’s coach sees the Austrian as a very demanding player who can be at a high level even in the fifth set.

However, he considered the Serbian machine to be his pupil’s main rival.  

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)

The former tennis player further added, “He is a very complete player, who demands a lot in each hit, if you leave the ball a little short, the point is over. On a physical level, he is very demanding.

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“Novak Djokovic is still the rival, perhaps, who can cause more problems, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and Dominic Thiem.”

 The French Open main draw begins on 30 May will be concluded 13 June. It will be interesting to it pans out; of course, Rafael Nadal will be the favorite, considering he has won in Barcelona and Rome in the past month. 

However, players like Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Dominic Thiem can give Rafa a tough time in the French capital. 

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Rohan Kollare

713 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.

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