'With Rafael Nadal I have delivered the most duels', says Top 5

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'With Rafael Nadal I have delivered the most duels', says Top 5

Dominic Thiem has collected numerous successes despite his young age, but many are waiting for his first Grand Slam victory. The Austrian player has played three finals in the Majors, losing two at Roland Garros to Rafael Nadal and one at the Australian Open (giving up to Novak Djokovic).

The world number 3 has already won a Masters 1000, in Indian Wells last year, however, by reassembling Roger Federer in a truly spectacular final. Dominic recently launched his new website, where he talked about his relationship with Nadal.

Thiem is 5-9 behind on the head-to-head balance sheet, but has proven to be one of the few players capable of putting the Spaniard in trouble even on clay. Referring to the 19-time Grand Slam champion, absent from the US Open, Thiem confessed that he got along very well with the Majorcan and had often had long conversations with him about football.

Thiem is perhaps the main antagonist on Novak Djokovic's path to the US Open, but he still looked far from top form last week in Cincinnati. Progress is expected in the inaugural week of the New York Slam.

Thiem on Rafael Nadal

"With Rafael Nadal I have delivered the most duels, delivered my most epic matches to date.

My rivalry with Rafa on clay is unique to me because there has never been a better player on this surface" - Dominic Thiem explained. "Australian Open 2020 and US Open 2018 were the closest encounters. Won in four sets in the quarterfinals in Melbourne, winning a tiebreak three times for me.

In New York, I had to be beaten in five sets in the quarterfinals. At 6-7 in the decider, a match that lasted nearly five hours. A gigantic thriller, the big stage in the Ashe Stadium with 23,000 fans. Everywhere it crackled, a great atmosphere!" Lastly, Dominic Thiem spoke about his off-court friendship with Rafael Nadal, and their shared love for football.

"A nice, nice guy. We often talk about football, he's off the pitch and he's also got a sense of humor." Thiem's deliberate, yet aggressive playing style, particularly the long take-back on his groundstrokes, ability to sustain long baseline rallies and top-spin serves have greatly benefited his clay game, where he has had the most success (winning ten of his sixteen ATP titles on that surface).

The Roland Garros website described him as an "heir to the throne." He has beaten many high-ranked clay-court players on clay, recording four wins over Rafael Nadal on the surface. He defeated Nicolás Almagro and Nadal en route to his Argentina Open title, as well as Stan Wawrinka at the 2014 Madrid Open, Roger Federer at the 2016 Italian Open, and Novak Djokovic at the French Open both in 2017 and 2019. His mental game has also been praised, especially his tie-break win percentage.