The Rio Open marked the beginning of this year's clay-court season. The first edition of the competition took place in 2014 and clay court king Rafael Nadal was the first man to be crowned champion of this ATP 500 event.
The Spanish legend will not take part in the 2020 edition of the Rio Open which means world number 4, Dominic Thiem, will walk into the tournament as the firm favorite.
#3 The only Top-20 player in the draw
As mentioned earlier, the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer will not take part in the 2020 Rio Open. While the absence of the top 3 has no doubt boosted Dominic Thiem's chances of emerging as the winner, the fact that no top-20 player is a part of the draw this year has all but guaranteed the Austrian's triumph.
The second seed in this competition is world number 23 from Serbia, Dusan Lajovic while world number 26, Cristian Garin is the third seed. Although these two players can give Thiem a run for his money, beating him in a three-set match on clay is highly unlikely.
#2 Recent form
The Austrian star has form on his side as he recently made it to the final of the decade's first Slam, the 2020 Australian Open. Although he could not secure the championship, he recorded a big win over Rafael Nadal in the tournament and even defeated the seventh-seeded Alexander Zverev en route to the finals.
With two big wins over top 10 players, Thiem looks to be in the form of his life and should not have too much trouble going all the way in Rio.
#1 Clay is his favorite surface
The biggest reason why Dominic Thiem starts as the outright favorite to win Rio Open 2020 is the Austrian's record on clay courts. Thiem has an outstanding record on the red dirt and the fact that he has been a part of the last two French Open finals is evidence of his prowess on the surface.
Moreover, the 26-year-old has won the Rio Open title in the past which means he has fond memories of the tournament and is familiar with the conditions in Brazil.Published 17 Feb 2020, 17:51 IST