Dominic Thiem rates Rafael Nadal as the French Open favourite (Picture: Getty)Dominic Thiem rates Rafael Nadal as the favourite to win the French Open ahead of in-form world number one Novak Djokovic.
Nadal will bid to win at Roland Garros for a 12th time this season and Thiem says the Spaniard is ‘always the number one contender’ at the second Grand Slam of the year.
Djokovic, who won his 15th Major at this year’s Australian Open, will be confident of enjoying a productive run in Paris, particularly after winning the Madrid Open earlier in the month.
But Thiem said: ‘For me personally, Rafa is always going to be the number one contender, closely followed by Novak now because he’s at his best again right before the French Open.
Nadal has won 11 French Open titles (Picture: Getty)‘Then there’s another group, four or five players who I also think can win a title almost every week. There are many players who can win every tournament.’
Thiem, 25, has participated in less tournaments over the past season-and-a-half and says he needs to manage his workload as his career continues.
‘It was tough for me to come to a big event without any matches before,’ he added. ‘I was kind of looking for getting confidence with some smaller events maybe.
‘But I’m also way more experienced now so I can play the bigger events also without the smaller events before.
World number one Novak Djokovic is in fine form (Picture: Getty)‘It doesn’t mean I’m not going to play smaller events. I really love them. Still, I’m also getting older every year.
‘Every single year as a tennis player is also a lot of effort, a lot of travelling, all this. I have to really take care of everything.
‘At the end if I play, I don’t know, like last year, 22, 23 tournaments, it’s a good number.’
Austrian star Thiem, a former French Open finalist, suffered a shock defeat to Fernando Verdasco at the Italian Open this week.