Dominic Thiem: 'The first time I beat Nadal I gained a lot of self-belief'

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Dominic Thiem: 'The first time I beat Nadal I gained a lot of self-belief'

In 2014 French Open second round Dominic Thiem had lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets, 6-2 6-2 6-3. Less than two years after, the Austrian beat the Spaniard in 2016 Buenos Aires. How was it like to face Nadal in the beginning? "It was my maiden French Open and I was playing very well", Thiem told El Mundo in an interview ahead of the Madrid Open.

"Despite the loss, I left the tournament satisfied. In Argentina, it was different because he was not at his best level and I had improved. I would say that the best matches between us happened over the last two years because both of us were our best level."

Is it a tactical or mental matter? "It was important to beat him in Buenos Aires because, although he was not in his best shape when you end up beating this kind of players, you earn a lot of self-belief. If you do it one time, you can achieve it again.

We played a lot of times and we know each other well, so the tactical matter is not the most important thing." Felix Auger-Aliassime feels excited to face Nadal in the Madrid Open second round. The 18-year-old Canadian player defeated Denis Shapovalov in a straight-set first round and in an on-court interview he said: "It's unbelievable.

I'm so new on the tour. I've seen [Rafa] play so many times growing up. It's a bit surreal to have the chance to play him here. I think I'll just try to enjoy the moment and give everything I have every point."