Dominic Thiem won his first Major title at the US Open last year, beating Alexander Zverev in thrilling five sets. The Austrian's primary goal in 2021 is to add the Roland Garros title to his tally, losing two finals to Rafael Nadal in 2018 and 2019.
Praising the Spaniard, Thiem said that Nadal's Roland Garros records are among our sport's most incredible achievements. Nadal made his Roland Garros debut in 2005 at 18 and wished to celebrate the 19th birthday in the French capital.
After conquering Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome earlier that spring, the young Spaniard was already among the world's best clay-courters and Roland Garros favorites. In Paris, Rafa proved his quality after defeating Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to embrace tennis glory and become the last teenager with a Major trophy.
Nadal has been the player to beat at his beloved Major in the next 15 years, winning 13 titles and scoring 100 wins from 102 encounters! Nadal claimed nine Roland Garros triumphs between 2005-15, suffering the only loss in 2009 to Robin Soderling and standing firm in the remaining years to enter the record books and become the greatest clay-courter ever.
After a challenging couple of years in 2015 and 2016 due to injuries, Nadal was back at his best in 2017, securing four consecutive Roland Garros crowns to improve his tally and extend the unmatched dominance!
Dominic Thiem honored Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros dominance.
Nadal's 13th Roland Garros crown came last October when the Spaniard toppled seven opponents in straight sets and challenging conditions to secure the 20th Major title.
Dealing with cold and rainy weather, Rafa experienced the new Wilson balls and a roof above Court Philippe-Chatrier, letting nothing of that stealing his thunder and standing above the entire field to secure the fourth Major trophy without losing a set at 34!
Nadal passed the opening four rounds without breaking a sweat, preserving energy for more formidable rivals. In the quarters, the Spaniard trailed in both the first and second set against the young Italian Jannik Sinner, overpowering a teenager in the crucial moments to enter the last four.
In his longest match of the tournament, Rafa ousted Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 in over three hours, struggling a bit in the third set but winning the tie break 7-0 for the 13th Roland Garros final. Wanting the title badly after a plagued season, Nadal defeated world no.
1 Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes to lift the 20th Major crown and join Roger Federer at the top of the GOAT race. "What Rafa has done at Roland Garros is probably one of the most outstanding achievements in the sport's history, and I suppose it is not over yet.
Last year, Rafa played perhaps one of the best tournaments in history at 34, so he's the guy to beat. Beating him on the Roland Garros center court would be one of the biggest challenges in the sport, so I'd love to do it while he's still active," Dominic Thiem said.