King of Clay Rafael Nadal said he will have to be at his best to beat Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s final at Roland Garros if he is to create more history and claim an 11th title.
Nadal, 32, earned a record 10th title in Paris last year and has lost just twice at the tournament since making his debut back in 2005.
There is hope for Thiem though as both of Nadal’s two losses on clay in the past two years have come against the Austrian.
Thiem defeated Nadal in Rome last year and was also victorious in the duo’s latest match at the Madrid Open in May.
Thiem also beat Nadal in Argentina back in 2016.
“I have a very difficult match against a player that is playing great,” the 32-year old Spaniard said.
“I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances.
“Sunday is the day to give my best, is the day to increase even a little bit more the level.”
For Thiem, however, the challenge will be to go one step further as all his victories so far have been in three setters.
The 24-year old, who is making his Grand Slam final debut, has already lost twice to Nadal in Paris, but said that he has a strategy already worked out.
“If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid,” said the number eight seed.
“I know how to play against him. I have a plan.
“But I’m also aware that here it’s tougher. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. Best of five is also different story.”