Dominic Thiem reveals his biggest goal is to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Dominic Thiem shadow

He has faced Rafael Nadal four times at Roland Garros, but on each occasion Dominic Thiem finished runner-up. However, the Austrian hopes to change that statistic before Nadal retires.

King of Clay Nadal won a record-extending 13th French Open title last year to draw level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam trophies.

Thiem’s best performances on the clay in Paris have been two finals appearances in 2018 and 2019, but in both matches Nadal was a comfortable winner. The pair’s other meetings at Roland Garros were in earlier rounds in 2017 and 2014, but the results were the same.

Having made his Grand Slam breakthrough at the US Open last year, Thiem is now setting his sights on glory in Paris.

“For me it’s by far the tournament with the best results in the past … so after I won that first Grand Slam title, it’s now the biggest goal and something I really want to achieve,” he told the Laureus Sports Awards.

“I like to set more short term goals, but to win the French Open is such a huge thing … it’s actually a career goal. It’s my biggest goal as well for this year.”

Dominic Thiem ‘still a big fan’ of Roger Federer, adding ‘I really love to watch him play tennis’

Of course the 27-year-old is all too aware that if he is to succeed at Roland Garros then he will likely have to beat Nadal en route.

“I think last year he was 34 already and he played probably one of the best tournaments ever, so he’s definitely the guy to beat,” Thiem continued.

“It would be one of the biggest challenges in sport to beat this guy on the centre court so that’s why I really would love to do it when he’s still active.”

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