In his first clay Masters as a champion at this level, Dominic Thiem is hopeful of another great clay season starting this week in Monte Carlo.
“I expect a lot, of course, like in every clay-court season,” Thiem said over the weekend. “The draw is a joke. It is so strong.
“In general, the level of men’s tennis is pretty high at the moment. I think everybody has to be ‘full power on’ from the first point of every match, myself as well. That is what I will try, and I hope good things are coming in this clay court season.”
Last year during the spring clay season, the Austrian beat Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev. And he made the finals at the French and Madrid with a title at Lyon. But he says Rafa is the man to beat.
“I think that as long as Rafa is playing, he will always be the top favorite for any clay court title, but I think there are more serious challenges to him than the in past years,” Thiem said. “Sascha always and Novak is back on the top of his game and, I hope, me. There are the really young guys like Felix, I think he likes clay a lot. He played amazing in Miami and also other very young guys like Stefanos and Shapovalov. There are many challenges for Rafa.”
Thiem’s joke of a draw sees him face Martin Klizan in his opener, then David Goffin, Karen Khachanov in the quarters with Djokovic in the semifinals.
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