Dominic Thiem: The first times I faced Rafael Nadal was very tough

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Dominic Thiem: The first times I faced Rafael Nadal was very tough

In an interview to the French Open YouTube Channel, Dominic Thiem recalled his last year's five-set US Open quarter-final loss against Rafael Nadal. The Austrian player said: "This match was very special, it was maybe the best match that I ever played.

It was 7-6 in the fifth set. I was playing against the number one player in the world for almost five hours which is a very long time and then all these five hours it was at a very high level from both of us and for the first time in my career I saw that I could play five hours at a great level with the best player in the world and this gave me a lot of boost and confidence for the rest of my career.

Then I also saw the big improvement I made between the French Open final against Rafa and the US Open." Recalling his rivalry with Nadal, the 25-year-old added: "I already played 11 times against him and first times were really tough, I was very young the first time I was playing him.

In 2017 we had many matches in the clay-court season and the first one was in Barcelona, I had no chance. The second one was better in Madrid but I still had no chance, so in Rome I talked to my coach and I said, We have to change something.

And he said if I do not make something special I will lose again, so he just told me that I should play fully aggressive and I should not mind if I make too many mistakes or something. I just should play full power and that's what I did in Rome.

And then I could beat him which was amazing, I think it was his only loss on clay in 2017 and that's how my match plan developed against him."