Jim Courier believes only Novak Djokovic could have beaten Rafael Nadal in this year's French Open. The Serb lost to Dominic Thiem in five sets in their semi-final match on Saturday, 8th June: "There is only one man who at his absolute best can beat Rafa at his absolute best on this surface and that man lost in semifinals yesterday.
Novak." One of Nadal's coaches Francis Roig said: "(On Sunday), Rafa won with the backhand. He played top spin, slice. He went changing a lot and despite Thiem played well, that backhand made a difference. This match was a lesson for how to play against a brutal rival on clay, that makes you play uncomfortable on every ball, you do not know what he will do, he has a very good intensity like few on clay.
He is one of the best clay-courters. He was just unlucky to coincide with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. If that didn't happen, at 25 years we would speak of a two, three-time French Open winner. In the first two points of the third set, ones like us, who know him, saw that the intensity that was there again.
And maybe Thiem, after winning a set, it was normal that he drops his intensity." Until how much time can Nadal keep this level? "It seems we have been in a final stage for a long time, for seven or eight years", concluded Roig, a Barcelona native.