'Rafael Nadal has trained on clay during this time and...', says Top 5

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'Rafael Nadal has trained on clay during this time and...', says Top 5

Over the past two seasons, Dominic Thiem has established himself as the main antagonist of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on both hard and clay courts. After winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open, the world number 3 is ready to definitively overthrow the hegemony of the Big 3 in the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar.

The Austrian prefers to play red, as 10 of his 17 titles have landed on this surface, as well as losing two consecutive finals at Roland Garros at the hands of Rafael Nadal. Thanks to the effort accumulated in the United States, Dominic has chosen not to compete in any preparatory appointment for the Parisian Grand Slam, which will start next week as a result of the Coronavirus emergency.

In a recent interview with Bild am Sonntag, Thiem wanted to take the pressure off by designating Nadal and Djokovic as the favorites to win the French Open.

Thiem on the French Open

"Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the absolute favourites in Paris," said Dominic Thiem in an interview with "Bild am Sonntag.

"He (Nadal) did not travel to New York and has trained on clay during this time. And he's the best player of all time on clay. I don't like the thought that I would have to go to Monaco after a long series of tournaments.

Simply because I don't like it there. You have to say that the tax rate for top athletes in this country (Austria) is fair", Thiem added. Dominic Thiem also revealed in another interview that he had not heard from former coach Thomas Muster after his US Open win.

"No, he hasn't yet. But he's not that kind of cellphone (person) either. It was an interesting collaboration with Thomas, but we're two different characters. It just didn't fit, but it was worth a try. It was logical to give it a try, because up to now he was the only Austrian who knew the feeling of winning a Grand Slam tournament," Dominic Thiem said.

Thiem turned things around just in time, becoming the first US Open champion in the Open Era to rally from two sets down in the final. Now the Austrian, who has competed in four Grand Slam finals, has plenty of cushion at No.

3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He only trails World No. 2 Rafael Nadal by 725 points. If Thiem overtakes Nadal, he will become the first player outside of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and former World No. 1 Andy Murray to crack the Top 2 since Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005.

Thiem is the 18th different World No. 3 since then, and the 11th of that group whose career-high remains No. 3.