Dominic Thiem is the biggest question mark, but he's the only one who can threaten Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic at RG: Gunter Bresnik

Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal at the 2019 French Open
Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal at the 2019 French Open
Modified 01 May 2021

Gunter Bresnik recently assessed the chances of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and former ward Dominic Thiem at the upcoming French Open. Bresnik believes that Nadal and Djokovic are the two favorites in Paris, and that they can only be challenged by Thiem.

While Speaking with Heute, Bresnik claimed that it is difficult to assess Dominic Thiem's chances in Paris because there is no clear picture of his mental state or form. Bresnik, however, believes that if the 27-year-old can go on a deep run in Madrid or Rome, he will be the biggest threat to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"Dominic Thiem is the biggest question mark," Bresnik said. "I know that he is physically in top shape. The rest is a stranger. For the last five years he was No. 2 on clay with Djokovic, behind Nadal. If he reaches the quarterfinals or semifinals in Madrid or Rome, then the path will fit. Then he can be right at the front in Paris. For me, Dominic is the only one who can really threaten Nadal and Djokovic in Paris."

Turning his attention to Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem's former coach highlighted the fact that the Spaniard will likely go into Roland Garros with plenty of match practice and self-belief.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
"He (Rafael Nadal) now has two claycourt tournaments under his feet," Bresnik added. "He has two before Paris. He trains more than everyone else. The self-confidence is there. That looks good."

Gunter Bresnik also believes that while you can never write Roger Federer off, the Swiss lacks the preparation to do well in Paris this year.

"You must never count out Federer," Bresnik said. "Everywhere he appears on a tennis court, he is dangerous. But in Paris I don't trust him to win anything. He just lacks the toughness of the match."

As for Novak Djokovic, Gunter Bresnik claimed that even though the Serb has had a couple of below-par tournaments on clay, he remains one of the French Open favorites.

"He (Djokovic) recently played two bad tournaments on clay, especially in Monte Carlo he was way below his level," Bresnik added. "But I won't take that away from him. In Paris he is fully there."

Meanwhile Andrey Rublev, who staged one of the biggest upsets of the year by beating Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals, is being tipped by many to go deep at Roland Garros. Bresnik, however, doesn't expect Rublev to replicate that performance in the best-of-five format, as he reckons there is a question mark over the Russian's endurance levels.

"He's (Rublev) not physically fit enough for more than five sets," Bresnik said. "He fades too often and has played a lot of matches this year."

Rafael Nadal practiced twice as much as the rest in Monte Carlo: Gunter Bresnik

Gunter Bresnik showered rich praise on Rafael Nadal
Gunter Bresnik showered rich praise on Rafael Nadal

During the interview, Gunter Bresnik also explained what sets Rafael Nadal apart from the rest of the field. According to Bresnik, Nadal trained twice as much as the other players at the Monte Carlo Masters, and unlike them never complained about the conditions.

"You know, pretty much everyone in Monte Carlo was moaning," Bresnik said. "Everyone was irritated. Only one person practiced: Nadal. Two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon - twice as much as the rest."

Bresnik further marveled at Nadal's unquenchable thirst for success, which has remained undimmed even in his mid-30s.

"Nadal never gets bored. He works for success. That is simply impressive," added Bresnik.
Published 01 May 2021
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