Dubai: US Open champion Dominic Thiem has set himself the career goal of winning the French Open and the Austrian says he would love to dethrone the ‘King of Clay’ Rafa Nadal in the process.
Nadal’s dominance on the red clay courts in Paris is unmatched, the Spaniard picking up his 13th French Open trophy last year to match Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
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Two of those 13 victories on centre court have come against Austrian Thiem, who won his maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows last year and is the favourite at next weeks Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
“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,” Thiem 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.” Thiem said getting the better of Nadal at the French Open would be a massive challenge.
“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,” said the 27-year-old, who has been nominated for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award for 2020.
“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.”