Former Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash recently spoke about who he thinks will be the heir to Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Nadal has won the last three French Open titles to continue his reign as ‘King of Clay’.
The Spaniard has not won Roland Garros only three times in the last 15 years and will be heading to Paris this year as a favourite again. Novak Djokovic and Swedish tennis player Robin Soderling are the only players to have beaten Nadal at the French Open while his only other exit came when he withdrew from the 2016 tournament with a wrist injury.
However, Cash thinks that Thiem is in prime position to end the Spaniard’s dominance. Thiem has recently emerged as a close rival to Nadal on the clay court surface though, reaching the last two finals. In 2018 he was brushed aside in straight sets but last year he was able to take one set away from the world No 2.
“He is the obvious heir apparent to Rafa at Roland Garros,” Cash said on BBC Radio 5 Live. “He’s the only one who looks like he is able to stop him. I don’t think he is far from knocking off Rafa over five on [Court Philippe] Chatrier, which is Rafa’s home”.
He further added, “No-one will beat Nadal there when he is in his top form but he’s not always going to be in top form”.