EXCLUSIVE: Tim Henman picks a surprise winner for the 2020 French Open
Former British No 1 and Eurosport analyst Tim Henman is NOT backing Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic to add to their collection of Grand Slam trophies at the French Open.
Instead, he is backing newly crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem to topple the “Big Two” in Paris, with the Austrian in sparkling form despite his draining win in New York at the end of last month.
“I would pick Thiem to win this tournament,” Henman told Tennis365. “He has got the US Open title under his belt in such extraordinary circumstances. He was the one who was knocking on the door of three Grand Slam finals.
“It could be that scenario of ‘London buses’ – you can’t win one, and then you win two in a row. I just think these type of conditions, and with the power he is able to generate, Dominic would be my pick.
“Rafa plays with more spin, for example. To be able to hit through the court could be advantageous. I think definitely the winner will come from those three – if I had to pick a winner, I’d pick Thiem.
“Of the other players, I don’t any of them breaking through in this tournament. I think those three are playing at a higher level.
“I really do think, as sure as one can be, that the winner will come from one of those three.”
Henman believes Thiem’s US Open win will have changed his mindset when he takes on the game’s modern icons, as he has now joined the ranks of major winners after a host of near misses.
“He will be more relaxed, he knows he can win a Slam,” says Henman, who was a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist in his own stellar tennis career.
“I still think clay is his best surface. He won a hardcourt slam, but this is a different challenge because Rafa is in the draw and this is Rafa’s ‘home’ territory as it were having won here 12 times. This is potentially an even bigger challenge but I think the belief is there.
Tim Henman is a tennis expert for Eurosport. All courts and all matches from Roland-Garros will be live on Eurosport and Eurosport app throughout the tournament.
Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
Novak Djokovic: I have a duty to speak up for my fellow players
Djokovic says he finds it tough to be ‘a mere onlooker’ when he has a ‘position of privilege’.
Australian Open boss defends ‘better deal’ for the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams
Big-name players self-isolating in Adelaide.
Rotterdam Open boss reveals delight as ‘one of his all-time favourite players’ Rafael Nadal joins field
Rafael Nadal will return to Rotterdam.
Roberto Bautista Agut says quotes comparing quarantine to ‘jail, but with WiFi’ was ‘taken out of context’
Roberto Bautista Agut issues an apology.
More coronavirus cases linked to arrivals for Australian Open
Australian Open boss said the safety of the Victorian community will not be compromised.
Big boost for LTA’s innovation drive as it signs deal with UK distributor of the Slinger Bag
LTA signs deal with Framework Sports & Marketing Ltd.
Australian Open chief defends Novak Djokovic over quarantine note, saying ‘they were suggestions’
Craig Tiley jumps to Novak Djokovic’s defence.
Quarantine remains in place for 72 players ahead of Australian Open
Two Covid-19 cases have been deemed viral shedding.
EXCLUSIVE – British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith recalls sitting next to Judy Murray as her son won Wimbledon
We talk to Leon Smith about his coaching journey.
Australian Open tension boiling over as players, pundits, ex-pros, fans involved in social media spats
It’s all kicking off on social media.