‘My level was high against Rafael Nadal’, says former Top 10


Felix Auger-Aliassime’s coach Frederic Fontang believes Rafael Nadal will again be among the top favorites for the French Open title. After struggling with multiple injuries in 2022, Nadal’s 2023 season started badly as the Spaniard picked up a hip injury at the Australian Open and lost in the second round. But despite Nadal battling rib, foot and abdominal injuries last year, he was still able to win two Grand Slams, including a record 14th French Open title. “I think Rafa, despite many saying he could retire, won two Slams last year and finished the season as world number 2. I think Rafa is still the favorite for Roland Garros despite everything,” Fontang said. After leaving the Australian Open in devastating fashion, Nadal revealed the extent of his hip injury and said he would probably be sidelined for six to eight weeks. Last week, Nadal provided an update on the injury, which confirmed the initial diagnosis. Nadal could return to action in March and Uncle Toni believes his nephew will be among the top contenders for the French Open title in late May and early June. “When you have been there for so many years, as is your case, and after having had so many problems in the last year, in which you ended up too injured, I do not consider the future beyond the next tournament. You never really know how things are going to go. It is true that Rafael has a very punished body, but it is also true that he has been on the professional circuit since he was 16 years old and that is paid for. There are many years hitting the ball and moving with great intensity.”

Thiem on facing Rafa Nadal

The Big 3 of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have divided tennis fans over who deserves the GOAT title. “In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis. Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams,” he expressed. “At the time, in the final of the [2020] Australian Open, I reached my highest level of abilities, both physically and tennis-wise. Even so, I lost in five sets to Novak. I practically couldn’t play better and still lost. That says everything,” Thiem said. “With Rafa in Paris in 2019, I played well too, not as much as in Australia, but my level was high. The two are almost invincible in their favorite tournaments,” he added.

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