The 16-time grand slam champion has won an unprecedented 11 French Open titles and is a favorite to win his 12th this year. No player in history has won as many grand slam titles at a single tournament. Rafael Nadal is considered the all-time greatest clay court player but as the Spanish is already 33 years old the question is when his reign will come to an end. Although Nadal might be expected to win, he is not the heavy favorite as of the last two years.
One player has made giant strides and is considered to be the next tennis player dominating on the clay court. The player who is likely to be the successor of Nadal is Dominic Thiem. The young Austrian has all the goodies in his bag to usurp the ‘King of Clay’ from his throne.
The 25-year old has carved his name into the list of top players in the men’s game the last couple of years, and it’s on red clay where he’s secured that status. In head-to-head matches, Nadal has won 8 times and Thiem 4 times with seven of Nadal’s wins on clay. Though, nine of Thiem’s 13 career titles are on clay and he’s beaten Nadal at least once on the surface in the last four years.
Dominic Thiem has emerged as one of the most promising players on the ATP Tour and he has been one of the most competitive young star tennis players on clay. Although, Nadal might be expected to win in Roland-Garros, he is not the heavy favorite as he was the last two years. Ultimately, if Thiem is the one winning the French Open, this might be where he takes the crown from Rafeal Nadal, becoming the new ‘King of Clay’.