'The competition with Rafael Nadal on clay is unique as...', says Grand Slam champion

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'The competition with Rafael Nadal on clay is unique as...', says Grand Slam champion

After losing three finals, two at Roland Garros and one at the Australian Open, Dominic Thiem has finally managed to fulfill one of the greatest dreams of his sporting life. The Austrian tennis player won his first Grand Slam tournament at the US Open by beating Alexander Zverev in a dramatic and not exactly thrilling final.

Thiem recovered two sets to zero and ended the game at the fifth set tiebreaker after Zverev served for the match on 5-3. In an interview, the World No.3 talked about his relation with World No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

Thiem on Rafael Nadal

“So far I have had the most meetings with Rafael Nadal, up till now I have had the most epic match against him.

The competition with Rafa on clay is unique as there has never been a better player on this surface than him,” said a cheerful Dominic Thiem. “He is a nice and likable guy. We often talk about soccer, off the court he is easy going and has a good sense of humor,” responded the Austrian when asked how he gets along Nadal, off the court.

One question was about his most memorable moment against Rafael Nadal. Thiem was confused between two classic encounters. “The matches at the Australian Open in 2020 and at the US Open in 2018 were by far the most awesome meetings.

In Melbourne, I won in four sets in the quarterfinals, in which I won three tie-breaks. In New York, I had to take defeat in five sets by a 6:7 in the decisive set, a match that took almost five hours. It was an unforgettable thriller on a big stage in Ashe-Stadium with a crowd of 23.000 fans.

You could feel the incredible atmosphere all over the place,” said the 27-year-old Thiem. Nadal, a record 12-time French Open champion, will be aiming to win his fourth consecutive title at Roland Garros this season. "I don’t know what the situation is going to look like at Roland Garros.

Let’s see how the virus evolves the next couple of weeks. Hopefully in a good way but it doesn’t look like that…We need to be patient and we need to wait about how the situation improves," Nadal said.

Nadal beat Thiem in each of the past two French Open finals. Thiem, who considers clay as his best surface, claimed his maiden Grand Slam title on the hard courts of the US Open. "Yeah, definitely I achieved a life goal, a dream of myself, which I had for many, many years."