The second Grand Slam of the makeshift tennis calendar, French Open is just a few days away. As we approach the clay major, tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou has named his favorites to challenge Rafael Nadal for the title in Paris.
In conversation with Tennis Majors, Mouratoglou named US Open 2020 Champion Dominic Thiem and World No.1 Novak Djokovic as the ones who could challenge, and potentially beat, Rafael Nadal at the French Open.
“I think that we have two guys that can beat Nadal, which was never the case before.”
Patrick Mouratoglou on why Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem can beat Rafael Nadal at French Open 2020
Mouratoglou mentioned that Djokovic is playing the best tennis of his career. He also pointed out the fact that Nadal is coming into the French Open with much less match practice than Djokovic.
“The first one is Novak because I think that Novak is playing the best tennis of his career at the moment, he’s beaten Rafa several times on clay, many times actually. Even though in Roland-Garros has always been a different story, but he has beaten him so many times and he’s very confident and Rafa is coming to Roland-Garros with only a few matches.”
Speaking about Dominic Thiem, Mouratoglou suggested that Thiem is now brimming with confidence after his US Open triumph. Hence, Patrick expects the Austrian to be physically and mentally ready to challenge for French Open.
“And then we have of course Dominic Thiem, who is an incredible clay-court player, who has a lot of matches behind him. He has so many matches under his belt, so he’s really extremely confident, with winning the US Open, and with a lot of matches, and physically extremely ready.”
Will Rafa get enough match practice?
Thiem will go into the French Open as a Grand Slam champion and a two-time runner-up in Paris. In the past few years, Thiem has fallen short of defeating Nadal in the finals. And while Djokovic has beaten the Spaniard a fair few times on clay, he has only managed to beat Rafa once on the Parisian clay.
As Mouratoglou mentioned, Thiem and Djokovic will go into the 2020 French Open with enough matches under their belts since the resumption. Hence, should Nadal struggle with rustiness at the Grand Slam, Djokovic and Thiem could very well pounce and challenge him for the title.