French Open men’s final — at a glance

Rafael Nadal is bidding for an 11th French Open title, but Dominic Thiem is one of only three players to have beaten him three times on clay
AFP

Paris (AFP) – Sunday’s French Open men’s final — at a glance:

Rafael Nadal v Dominic Thiem

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 6-3

Nadal

— Bidding to win 11th French Open, which would tie Margaret Court’s all-time record of most singles titles won at a single Grand Slam.

— Has never failed to win Roland Garros after reaching semi-finals, but joked earlier this week that he “is a human person”.

— The 32-year-old won record 11th Monte Carlo and Barcelona titles earlier this year and has an 85-2 winning record in Paris.

— Only defeats at Roland Garros were by Swede Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round and Novak Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals.

— Victory in the final would make him the third player to reach $100 million in prize money after Djokovic and Roger Federer.

— Bidding for 17th Grand Slam title, which would pull him to within three of great rival Federer’s all-time record.

He says: “It’s (been) a lot of years of playing and doing the same things every year. But the only way to keep doing that and keep going on court every morning with the motivation to improve something, (is) because you feel the game, no? You feel the sport and you appreciate (it).”

Thiem

— Into first Grand Slam final after ending the surprise run of Marco Cecchinato.

— Completed four weeks of mandatory national service with Austrian military in 2014, something he says was “a pain in the arse”.

— Only man to have defeated Nadal on clay in last two years — in 2017 Rome quarter-finals and in the Madrid last eight last month.

— Girlfriend is French star Kristina Mladenovic, who watched his semi-final win on Court Philippe Chatrier.

— In past, has trained by carrying tree trunks on his back to build physique.

— One of only three players to have beaten Nadal three or more times on clay — the others are Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio.

— Has won 10 consecutive matches after lifting the ATP title in Lyon the week before the French Open.

He says: “I know how to play against him. I have a plan. If it’s going to be him on Sunday, I will try everything (so) that my plan (is) also going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome.”

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