World No. 3 Dominic Thiem was surprised when he heard that told that an online poll in a French newspaper said more than half felt Rafael Nadal would not win the French Open. Nadal, a record 12-time French Open champion, suffered a shock Rome quarterfinal exit prior in his first tournament since the season restarted but bounced back with a straight-set win over Egor Gerasimov at Roland Garros on Monday.
"For me, he's the huge favorite here. Obviously it's a lot of different things going on this year with way less crowd, with the tournament going on three or four months later. It's cold conditions," Thiem said, per Ravi Ubha.
"But with his name and his past here at the tournament, he's still the huge favorite. Honestly, I don't know where that statistics is coming from." Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Thiem handed a straight-set defeat 2014 Marin Cilic to safely progress into the second round.
"I really love this tournament. It is, by far, my best Grand Slam tournament so far,” Thiem said after beating Cilic, per the ATP website. “I wanted to prepare well. I didn’t want to lose too much tension after my victory in New York and I am really happy how I did it.
“I am really happy with my first round.
I was facing another great champion today. The transition to the clay and the cold conditions worked out pretty well”.
Thiem all good with the tricky French Open conditions
Thiem, a back-to-back French Open runner-up, plays next against 2017 Paris Masters champion Jack Sock.
"I love the conditions because I am from Austria,” Thiem said. “I know how it is to play in these cold conditions and back in juniors and when I started to play Futures, it was always like that, 10 to 15 degrees [and] cold.
I love it when it is not too fast, so I can be a little bit behind the baseline and make a lot of returns in court. I feel well and I felt well from the first moment I came here again this year. I am looking forward to an exciting second round”.
Meanwhile, after stunning No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev in four sets, world No. 63 Marton Fucsovics claimed he entered the court determined to show he's a good player. "I really wanted to show I’m a good player," Fucsovics admitted after the match, per TENNIS.com. "I also want to break into the Top-10."