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Thiem 'closer' to 'dream' Grand Slam title

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Paris (AFP)

Dominic Thiem said he feels as though he is getting "closer" to his "dream" of winning a Grand Slam title, despite being downed in four sets by Rafael Nadal in Sunday's French Open final.

The Austrian, who was beaten by Nadal in straight sets in last year's championship match, pushed his illustrious opponent all the way in the first two sets, only to run out of steam.

Nadal clinched a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

"I was closer in the final this year, especially in the first two sets," said fourth seed Thiem.

"My dream, my goal is still to win a Grand Slam tournament."

The 25-year-old Thiem had claimed a stunning five-set semi-final win over world number one Novak Djokovic on Saturday, after poor weather forced their clash to be suspended during the third set on Friday night in Paris.

As a result, Thiem was playing for the fourth successive day in the final.

"Yesterday was one of my biggest victories," added Thiem, who has now reached at least the last four every year since 2016.

"I failed to make the biggest dream of my tennis life come true, so I don't feel like I did yesterday.

"I felt fine physically, the first set was unbelievably intense, and the second set. Maybe I had a little drop in the third set. Against other players it isn't such a problem, but he goes all in."

Thiem has beaten Nadal four times on clay, but Sunday was the first time in four meetings he had managed to take a set off the Spaniard at Roland Garros.

He pointed to the 18-time Grand Slam champion's ability to mix up his game as a reason he is so formidable.

"If you ask players they will say he's one of the best volleyers in the game. The last time he missed a volley was maybe seven years ago."

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