Dominic Thiem on playing Rafael Nadal on clay: He doesn't let you breath

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Dominic Thiem on playing Rafael Nadal on clay: He doesn't let you breath

Rising Austrian star Dominic Thiem has yet to win a French Open title but Paris remains one of his favourite cities to play in. The Austrian picked up back-to-back semi-final losses at Roland Garros in 2016 and 2017 before he ended runner-up to Spain's Rafael Nadal in this year's final.

Reflecting on his 2018 French Open campaign, Thiem told Tennis Magazine: "Unbelievable memories. And it's not just the final, but the three straight semi-finals I played in Paris. This is extraordinary. Paris is the city where I've had my greatest successes so far.

I'm always happy to come back, whatever the occasion." Many believe that Thiem is the second best clay courter on the tour and the player most capable of upsetting record 11-time French Open champion Nadal on the dirt.

Thiem is the only player who has managed to beat Nadal on clay in the last two years as the Austrian beat him at the Rome Masters in 2017 and the Madrid Masters this year respectively. Yet, the Austrian stood no chance against the Spaniard in the French Open final as he lost 6-4 6-3 6-2.

The head-to-head between the two on clay stands on Nadal's side 7-3. "It's terrible playing him (Nadal) on clay, he doesn't let you breathe. But in Rome and Madrid, it's a bit easier to challenge him, so to speak, because the courts are smaller and faster.

At Roland Garros, especially on Philippe Charrier, the court is so big, and if you don't play your best tennis, if you don't have great sensations that day, it's really complicated to hit winners against him. During the final this year, I still fought from start to finish.

The beginning of the match was actually pretty open until he started to demonstrate why he had already won Roland Garros 10 times," Thiem said. Here you can check out the full translation of Thiem's interview.

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