Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini thinks Rafael Nadal is still the top favorite to win the French Open as bearing the Spaniard at Roland Garros remains one of the toughest things to accomplish in sports. World No. 2 Nadal skipped the US Open over coronavirus concerns, while Dominic Thiem took the advantage of a favorable draw and captured his maiden Grand Slam title.
Thiem ended runner-up to Nadal in each of the past two French Open finals. "Well, guys, with Rafa, we never know. I think he's one of the best champion that we have in our sport, so say something about Rafa that he can't? I do not.
He's able to do everything. So I think he's the favorite on clay. When he's fit, results are talking for him," Fognini said when asked what shot he gives to Thiem of veering Nadal. "So I think it's a good step forward for Dominic because he always dreaming.
He was playing unbelievable in Australia with Nole. He was playing two great final. Yesterday he was one step really close to lose the match. Because I think he was the favorite of the match, so mentally also it's not so easy like playing maybe Rafa or Nole, that you have nothing to lose because they are better than you.
"So now it's gonna be interesting, because these kind of players we'll say in the future they're gonna win big, big tournament, they're going to make big result. But if Rafa is fit, it's really hard to beat him on Roland Garros."
Fognini believes he will be fine
Fognini skipped the Cincinnati Masters and US Open but believes he will be fine since he traditionally plays his best tennis on clay. "That's a good question. I mean, I just say I'm happy to be back, because as everybody know I was suffering a lot the last four years of my career about these kind of pains, so I'm grateful surgery went well," Fognini said.
"Was recovering and rehabilitation was long, but the same times, you know, I'm happy to be again on court without any pain. "The only problem now is I need to play matches, I need to play points, even in practice.
And that's the only thing. I mean, I'm dreaming on it, for sure, because I always play good, I always make my best result on clay, and I'm not feeling good as I was before, because of course I get to surgery on my ankle.
But I think this is the only way, just to practice, stay on court, play points, and then probably it came, but I don't know when."