Dominic Thiem: Rafael Nadal is improving his game constantly

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Dominic Thiem: Rafael Nadal is improving his game constantly

Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem is looking forward to returning to action at the Madrid Masters. Thiem, ranked at No. 4 in the world, hasn't played in a month and a half as his last appearance came at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Back then, Thiem suffered a shock loss to rising South African star Lloyd Harris in his opener at the tournament. Thiem has enjoyed success in Madrid in the past as he ended runner-up at the tournament in 2017 and 2018.

In his last Madrid appearance -- which came in 2019 -- Thiem made the semifinal. “The break was good,” said Thiem on Saturday, per the ATP website. “I also needed it. But now it's also time to be back.

I think Madrid is a great place for me [and] I have only good memories of that tournament. Conditions are amazing for my game... I'm happy to be back here and hope that I can also play well”.

Thiem happy to have fans in Madrid

“It's so nice,” said Thiem, who will play a qualifier in his first match.

“I was just driving in to the site for the first time, saw people in the stands, which was pretty new again for me… I can't wait to play in front of people again. “I [have been] preparing in Austria, doing lot of physical practice, [a] lot of tennis practice.

I think that I'm on a good level…. I’m probably in better shape than 12 months ago”. Thiem finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in back-to-back French Open finals in 2018 and 2019. This clay season, record 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal is again the man to beat on clay.

Nadal suffered a shock quarterfinal loss at the Monte Carlo Masters but then won the Barcelona Open the following week. “I think he's improving his game constantly,” said Thiem. “He [has] improved every part of his game.

That's also what you need to do to be successful every year. That's why he's such a great role model." Thiem is hoping to be at his best when the time comes for the French Open. “My goal is to get a lot of matches against top players until Roland Garros, to give myself the best chance possible there.

Once I arrive at Roland Garros, I want to be in the best physical shape, in the best tennis shape, so I give myself the best chances to go deep there”.