Thiem: Easier to watch Nadal on TV in French Open final - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Thiem: Easier to watch Nadal on TV in French Open final

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Eleven-times French Open winner Spain's Rafael Nadal, right, and runner-up Austria's Dominic Thiem hold the trophies after the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris... (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Eleven-times French Open winner Spain's Rafael Nadal, right, and runner-up Austria's Dominic Thiem hold the trophies after the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris...
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Austria's Dominic Thiem wipes his face in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Austria's Dominic Thiem wipes his face in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Austria's Dominic Thiem hugs Spain's Rafael Nadal who celebrates winning the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament in three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Jun... (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Austria's Dominic Thiem hugs Spain's Rafael Nadal who celebrates winning the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament in three sets 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Jun...
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus). Austria's Dominic Thiem is to return the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus). Austria's Dominic Thiem is to return the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Paris.
(AP Photo/Michel Euler). Austria's Dominic Thiem gestures after missing a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Michel Euler). Austria's Dominic Thiem gestures after missing a shot against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2018.

By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer

PARIS (AP) - Dominic Thiem remembers sitting in front of a TV to follow along as Rafael Nadal made his Grand Slam final debut and won his first French Open title back in 2005.

Thiem was 11 at the time.

On Sunday, Thiem was right out there at Court Philippe Chatrier, too, making his initial appearance in a major final, swapping shots with that very same Nadal. Thiem stayed with him for the better part of a set, before Nadal pulled away for a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory and his 11th championship at Roland Garros.

"Physically, I enjoyed (it) more watching him on the couch," Thiem said with a smile. "Actually, when he won here the first four or five times, I was always watching it. Of course, it's really a great thing that I made my way and that I was competing in a final against him."

But only so much of a thrill. Thiem did not wind up with the trophy he really wanted.

"Still, I'm disappointed, of course. It was a final. I really wanted to win," the 24-year-old Austrian said. "I gave everything I had, and I'm the loser of today. So at the end, it's not the best day."

Nadal said he expects to see Thiem back in a final one day - and with a different result.

"I am sure," Nadal said after the match, "you will win here in the next couple of years."

The No. 7-seeded Thiem was trying to become only the second player from Austria to earn a Grand Slam title; Thomas Muster won the 1995 French Open.

"For sure, me, I'm confident that this was not my last Grand Slam final," Thiem said, "and that's my biggest goal: to get into the next one and then to do better than today."

He has come close in Paris before, losing in the semifinals last year (to Nadal) and in 2016 (to Novak Djokovic).

And entering Sunday, there was at least some reason to believe that Thiem could make things interesting in the final. He is, after all, the only player to beat Nadal on red clay each of the past two seasons.

Nadal is 50-2 on the surface in that span. The losses came against Thiem at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month.

After an early swap of service breaks in Paris, it was 4-all in the opening set. That's when Nadal took charge, holding for a 5-4 lead, then breaking to take the set as Thiem made four unforced errors in a row. That was part of a five-game run that sent Nadal on his way.

Thiem didn't think that loose game to end the first set was as crucial as it might seemed to everyone else.

"I just missed some close balls," he said. "It was just terrible misses. And it was, for sure, not the turning point."

Perhaps. But under so much pressure from Nadal all afternoon, Thiem made mistakes that piled up. He wound up with 42 unforced errors to Nadal's 24. Thiem also made 37 forced errors to Nadal's 21.

Maybe nerves were a factor in Thiem's performance.

Certainly, Nadal played a role.

"I mean, it's a big goal for me to play, soon, another Slam final," Thiem said. "Of course, it's going to be easier then, a little bit, because it's not going to be the first time anymore."

___

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • WHAT'S HAPPENING: Can GOP fix immigration amid border crisis

    WHAT'S HAPPENING: Can GOP fix immigration amid border crisis

    Thursday, June 21 2018 6:12 AM EDT2018-06-21 10:12:18 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:13 PM EDT2018-06-23 16:13:54 GMT
    WHAT'S HAPPENING: House GOP leaders are working furiously to get reluctant Republicans on board in hopes of resolving broader immigration issues ahead of the November midterm elections.More >>
    WHAT'S HAPPENING: House GOP leaders are working furiously to get reluctant Republicans on board in hopes of resolving broader immigration issues ahead of the November midterm elections.More >>
  • Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

    Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

    Saturday, June 23 2018 11:48 AM EDT2018-06-23 15:48:41 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:08 PM EDT2018-06-23 16:08:02 GMT
    (Photo courtesy Innovate Signs, Inc. via AP). This June 2018 photo provided by Innovative Signs, Inc. in Longwood, Fla., shows a plaque that will be dedicated Saturday, June 23, 2018, in Valdez, Alaska. The memorial honors four Alaska Air National Guar...(Photo courtesy Innovate Signs, Inc. via AP). This June 2018 photo provided by Innovative Signs, Inc. in Longwood, Fla., shows a plaque that will be dedicated Saturday, June 23, 2018, in Valdez, Alaska. The memorial honors four Alaska Air National Guar...
    A memorial will be unveiled Saturday in Valdez, Alaska, honoring four Alaska National Guard members killed during a humanitarian mission in 1964.More >>
    A memorial will be unveiled Saturday in Valdez, Alaska, honoring four Alaska National Guard members killed during a humanitarian mission in 1964.More >>
  • The Latest: Kansas welfare agency says children's needs met

    The Latest: Kansas welfare agency says children's needs met

    Friday, June 22 2018 12:31 PM EDT2018-06-22 16:31:05 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 12:07 PM EDT2018-06-23 16:07:59 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). Darwin Micheal Mejia, right, holds hands with his mother, Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, during a news conference following their reunion at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Friday, June 22...(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). Darwin Micheal Mejia, right, holds hands with his mother, Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia, during a news conference following their reunion at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Friday, June 22...
    The U.N human rights office says President Donald Trump's decision to stop the U.S. policy separating migrant parents from their children doesn't go far enough.More >>
    The U.N human rights office says President Donald Trump's decision to stop the U.S. policy separating migrant parents from their children doesn't go far enough.More >>
Powered by Frankly