Bernard Tomic admits he had “no chance” against Dominic Thiem in their Roland Garros first round and says the Austrian is a “huge favourite” at the tournament this year.
Thiem, who has won the second-most clay-court matches this season (has 18, one behind Albert Ramos-Vinolas), entered the French Open as one of the main contenders for the title having put together an impressive season on the red dirt, winning Rio, making finals in Barcelona and Madrid, and semis in Rome.
He was in merciless form in sweltering conditions on Sunday in Paris, handing a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 defeat to Tomic in a mere 80 minutes.
The 23-year-old world No7 faced zero break points and now awaits Nicolas Mahut or Simone Bolelli in the second round.
“I was playing a top two, three player on clay, and he’s been playing well, and really no chance today,” said Tomic, who is unseeded in Paris and is currently ranked No39 in the world.
“He killed me from the start, from the 2-All game, and that’s why he’s been playing so well. So for him, I wish him the best of luck and he’s a huge favourite to do well in this Roland Garros this year.
“He’s not a player you want in the first round. I knew straight away it was going to be tough and I would have to serve amazing to have any chance. And really at the clay level I’m not quite there near him at this moment but hopefully one day in a few years I can improve on this surface and there’s been positive signs this year.
“I played really well, what, three or four matches. I think this is my best year on clay, where I have won the most matches. So for me I’m pretty happy. Obviously, the draw was bad and I look to be ready on grass.”
Clay is Tomic’s least favourite surface and he can’t wait to get to the grass, where he reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon as a teenager, and made the fourth round last year.
“I have played the wrong player in the first round and I lost and now I’m looking for the beautiful grass courts,” he said with a smile.
Thiem dropped just four points on his first serve and was dominating Tomic from the baseline. Tomic tried to mix up his game, experimenting with some drop shots and slices but to no avail.
“I don’t want to rally with Dominic Thiem. I think physically everybody would say this,” said the 24-year-old Aussie, who has never made it past the second round in Paris in eight appearances. “You have to play, especially me, I’m not playing the game of running and playing 30 balls. That’s not me. But I tried today and tried to do something different, but no chance really.”
Thiem, who reached the Roland Garros semis last year, was pleased with his performance, especially handling the brutal, hot conditions.
When told about Tomic’s remarks about avoiding rallying with him, Thiem said: “It’s good to hear this from such a good player like him. Of course if I play my aggressive game style, I guess it’s tough to be in the rally with me, and, I mean, also he’s not home on clay, so of course he tried to shorten the points and to play fast, to break the rhythm. That’s what he tried.”
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