ATP Tour

Never write Nadal off on clay, Thiem warns

Dominic Thiem (AP)
Dominic Thiem (AP)

Cape Town - Dominic Thiem says it would be suicidal to write off Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this year, despite his recent struggles on clay.

Thiem defeated Nadal en-route to winning the Barcelona Open last week, and the Spaniard also failed in Monte Carlo the week before where he lost to Italy's Fabio Fognini.

However, Thiem has dismissed suggestions that Nadal will be vulnerable at Roland Garros, where he has won a staggering 11 titles.

"I've not changed my opinion that Rafa is always the biggest favourite for any clay title," Thiem said.

"But I love Roland Garros, I've played well there for the past three years. I hope this can continue. But I'm thinking next of Madrid.

"I go to Madrid playing well and in a good mood, but the special thing about tennis is that I will start from zero there. All the guys will be strong.

"I need to train well and get used to the conditions. In the matches I must be there from the first point, it can go very quickly in tennis.

"Paris is still pretty far away. I'm happy with my clay form right now, this is actually my biggest clay title - this one here (Barcelona).

"It makes me happy to have won it, but Paris is not really in my head."

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