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Roland Garros 2018: Rafael Nadal is the favorite, but these 5 players can challenge him

Subhadeep Roy
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
8.93K   //    27 Apr 2018, 20:29 IST

Rafa
Rafael Nadal

Everybody knows that Roland Garros is Rafael Nadal's territory. The man who has won 10 of the last 12 French Opens he has played in, starts as the overwhelming favorite this year too.

Nadal's dominance in Paris is so absurd and complete that the casual tennis fan does not even bother to think about the potential challengers. However, upsets do happen in sport and the neutral tennis lover would certainly hope to see one.

On that note, we take a look at the potential challengers to Nadal’s throne this year.

1. Dominic Thiem

Domin

Dominic Thiem, semifinalist at the 2017 French Open, is also the heir apparent to Thomas Muster’s Austrian tennis legacy. He is likely to win titles at Roland Garros in the years to come. However, one cannot rule out this youngster achieving that feat in 2018 itself.

For that to happen, he would have to improve his serve and backhand a bit. Thiem has the legs to survive epic 5-set matches and the heart to go through the clay court ordeal. He has a superb return too. Those qualities make him almost a sure bet to make it to the semis at least.

Thiem lost very badly to Nadal in Monte Carlo recently, but a Grand Slam is a different thing altogether. If I am asked to pick anybody aside from Nadal to win the French this year, I would probably choose Thiem.

He would, however, have to improve his big match temperament.

Career head to head against Nadal: 2-6

2018 win-loss record: 17-4

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Subhadeep Roy
ANALYST
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