Dominic Thiem reveals ‘four or five guys’ that can beat Djokovic and Nadal at Roland Garros
Dominic Thiem has claimed that there are ‘many players’ that can beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in 2023, and listed their main rivals going into Roland Garros this year.
Thiem has beaten Nadal six times and Djokovic five times and won the US Open back in 2020, as well as reaching three other Grand Slam finals.
However, the Austrian has struggled with a wrist injury over the last couple of years and fell to as low as No.352 in the rankings.
Thiem did reach semi-finals in Gstaad, Gijon and Antwerp on his return to the sport last year and forced his way just inside the top 100.
Match of the year contender ❓🤯
Comeback kid 🇦🇹 Thiem continues after defeating nr.1 seed 🇵🇱 Hurkacz 3-6 7-6(9) 7-6(4) in an AMAZING atmosphere in ANTWERP 😳🦁
🔜 🇺🇸 Sebastian Korda#EuropeanOpen | #ATPTour | #Tennis pic.twitter.com/H1kblOpFVx
— European Open (@EuroTennisOpen) October 21, 2022
But, the 29-year-old has been unable to continue that momentum into 2023, winning only one of his eight matches.
The current ATP No.102 has been speaking about Djokovic and Nadal, and how he thinks they will fare at Roland Garros and in the rest of the year.
“I have the feeling that there are many players now who can beat those two guys [Djokovic and Nadal],” said Thiem.
He continued, “There are great guys there, but obviously, also those two, three when Roger [Federer] was there, they were still one level above all the others, especially in the Slams, especially when it came to the best-of-five.”
“For the whole tennis world it would be nice to see one last showdown in Roland Garros, obviously, but Novak will still be the man to beat in the Grand Slams in 2023.”
Despite Thiem suggesting that Djokovic is the favourite in major events, he admitted that Roland Garros could be a different situation, “The only tournament is Roland-Garros: if Rafael is fit there, it’s exactly the opposite. He’s the man to beat, obviously, when he won the tournament 14 times, it’s crazy.”
“But if you see the performance of Novak at the Australian Open, which was incredible, he’s going to be probably the favourite at Wimbledon and the US Open as well.”
The former No.3 revealed who he believes are the two 22-time Grand Slam champion’s main rivals, “There is, of course, Carlos Alcaraz. I saw the finals at the US Open. I watched the highlights of these finals many times and the level was great, the level was incredible.”
“But I have the feeling that if Casper [Ruud], if Carlos, are playing at this level, they can also beat Novak and Rafa at the Grand Slam tournaments. No doubt about that.”
Thiem lost three of his four Grand Slam finals to either Nadal (2) or Djokovic (1), and the one final he did win was against Alexander Zverev who he also thinks could contend for majors as he recovers from an ankle injury.
“Then Stefanos [Tsitsipas] obviously, I don’t think he had his best day in the finals of the Australian Open. Sasha [Zverev] is on his way back as well,” claimed Thiem.
He added, “And yeah, there are definitely four or five guys who can beat anybody in the Grand Slams and that’s what makes it even more exciting.”
Both Djokovic and Nadal are currently out of action, with the Serb unable to enter the US to play the sunshine double due to his vaccination status and the Spaniard recovering from a grade two tear to his iliopsoas muscle.
The likelihood is that they will both make a return on the clay, as they prepare to become the first 23-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion at Roland Garros, which begins on the 28th May.
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