PARIS (Reuters) - As if facing 11-times champion Rafa Nadal in a French Open final was not daunting enough, Austria’s Dominic Thiem will need to do so after less than 24 hours rest.
But even though his rain delayed semi-final victory over Novak Djokovic spanned exactly 24 hours, finishing on Saturday afternoon, and Nadal has been resting since Friday afternoon, there was never any question of pushing the final into Monday.
Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu told reporters on Saturday that he had gone to the referee’s office on Friday to see if an extension was possible.
“They said there is no chance,” he shrugged.
“I don’t know if it’s good luck or bad luck, because one part of the draw play one day before and the other part of the draw play one day after. And Dominic was playing the last three days in a row. The other part of the draw... they are not in the same situation.”
Massu said it would not be just the physical aspect which may disadvantage Thiem, but also the mental drain.
“You have to come to the club. You have to be in the locker room, to prepare the match. It’s different,” he said, before adopting a stoic, philosophical stance.
“We have to be prepared to play the match tomorrow. There is no chance to change. So we accept that. And Dominic is a guy who practise many, many hours in his life. The match is tomorrow, and we have to be focused on this match. Sometimes things are not the way that you want.
“You never know what (can) happen. It’s a final of a slam and he’s going to try to give 100%.”
Editing by Ed Osmond