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Dominic Thiem believes tiredness played a role in his French Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal.
For the second year in a row Thiem found Nadal too good in the Roland Garros decider with the Spaniard prevailing 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 to claim a record 12th title in Paris.
Nadal defeated Roger Federer in straight sets in the semi-final on Friday and had an extra day's rest while Thiem battled to a five-set victory over Novak Djokovic in a match that extended into Saturday due to rain.
While he was reluctance to use tiredness as a factor in his defeat, Thiem admitted he was not at his best for the final.
“[Beating Djokovic] was one of my biggest victories in my career, for sure. That’s a unique and also brutal thing, I guess, in our sport, in tennis, that I won six amazing matches. I beat one of the biggest legends of our game," Thiem reflected.
“Not even 24 hours later, I have to step on court against another amazing legend of our game, against the best clay-court player of all time.
“That also shows how difficult nowadays it is to win a Grand Slam.
“I was feeling so happy [after beating Djokovic], with such a good win, and today, of course I lost.
“I failed to make my biggest dream in my tennis life come true, so I don’t feel that good like yesterday.”
While he was tired going into the match, Thiem insisted he did not think about how he was feeling as he battled the Spaniard.
“I mean, it was a Grand Slam final, so I didn’t feel tired in the match,” he added. “But at the same time, beating Novak over two days with all the interruption, it leaves traces on the body and also on the mind. That’s 100%.
“The beginning was unbelievable intense of the match. And I dropped a little bit towards the end of the first set.
“Then I played the way I should play in the second set, very aggressive.
“I dropped a little bit my level. I mean, then Rafa, who won this tournament 12 times, he stepped on me."
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Getty Images/Julian Finney