In a column for El Pais, Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni admitted that facing Dominic Thiem was better than facing Novak Djokovic in the French Open final. The Austrian defeated the Serb 7-5 in the fifth set on Saturday. Nadal' coach Francis Roig also admitted that facing Thiem was better.
"Let's not lie. The Novak Djokovic's loss in this year's French Open to Dominic Thiem made us a bit happy", wrote Toni. "And not because the Austrian's tennis gives less fear than the Serb's, but because a loss to Novak would have been more powerful for Rafael.
I think the reasons are clear. Novak makes Rafa struggle. On the other side, it's very easy to appreciate Dominic. Both his family and him are always very well educated. Rafa said they are good people, so on the day that the young Austrian lifts the tournament, we will be happy for him.
On Sunday it was a high-intensity match between two classical clay specialists. From my side, although in the beginning, my nephew was dominating, his shots were not powerful enough. But breaking on 2-3 in the first set gave him a mental boost.
That was the first key moment. The second moment was when after losing the second set, Rafael asked to go to the bathroom. He used that moment to regroup, think what was going bad. When he cameback, he showed to have clear ideas on how to deliver his game.
Now due to the many statistics around, you do not think about the mental side and on that aspect, Rafa was stronger than Dominic. Now he comes back home and we have to think about the next goal, starting to think about Wimbledon."