'Djokovic nearly beat Rafael Nadal that time when it was rainy', says analyst



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'Djokovic nearly beat Rafael Nadal that time when it was rainy', says analyst

After his triumph at the US Open, Dominic Thiem missed the Internationals of Italy to recharge his batteries in view of the third Grand Slam of the season. The Austrian has returned home to recover after the US efforts with the understandably complicated goal of improving what he did in Paris in the last two editions where he was defeated in the final.

Thiem is undoubtedly one of the best tennis players in the world, the proof was the victory of the US Open, and in his career he has shown to adapt very well to clay, probably the surface on which he can express himself best.

The enthusiasm and self-esteem that can be generated by an incredible success like the one achieved in America could also be an important factor in his adventure at Roland Garros. The opponents will always be the same: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Mats Wilander believes Roland Garros will be a huge challenge for Rafael Nadal this year due to the weather conditions. The Swede also claimed Novak Djokovic would be at an advantage due to the specific strengths of his game.

Wilander on the French Open

“I think it’s Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem who are the three favourites – I would put Novak Djokovic slightly ahead of the other two," Mats Wilander told the PA news agency.

"I think the field has a much better chance this year than any year I can remember since Rafael Nadal started winning. It’s a huge, huge difference for Rafa. This is a huge challenge for him and he’s going to be praying for some kind of Indian summer," Wilander added.

"For Novak, I think it’s perfect," Wilander said. "Novak nearly beat him (Nadal) that time when it was rainy (the 2012 final). But even the field – I think the hardcourt players are going to do better because it’s not as slippery when it’s a little wetter and colder, the balls don’t spin as much”.

Wilander believes Dominic Thiem will also be very dangerous at this year's tournament, despite the less-than-stellar manner in which he won the US Open final. “If he can forget the final (of the US Open) and just take the win and tell himself: ‘I don’t know what happened that day but I played great for six matches, I fought hard in the final and I managed to bring home the trophy.'

This is perfect conditions for Thiem. He can hit through a heavy clay court. I think he’s going to be extremely dangerous," Wilander added.