Rafael Nadal takes on Dominic Thiem in the French Open men’s final

Rafael Nadal, the 10-time champion, takes on Dominic Thiem in the French Open final on Sunday.

Here, we look at the main talking points surrounding their Roland Garros showdown.

Numbers game

Nadal is going for title number 11 at Roland Garros.

Coincidentally, the only time he has looked in any danger was on day 11 when Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, took the only set of the tournament off him. Even then the Paris rain obliged and Nadal polished Schwartzman off the next day.

Nadal’s astonishing French Open record currently reads: Won 85, lost 2.

No contest

While Nadal’s dominance in Paris can never be doubted, this year’s inexorable march to the final has illustrated the paucity of genuine challengers, especially in the absence of Andy Murray and Roger Federer, and with Novak Djokovic being some way from his best after injury.

That the second seed, Alexander Zverev, reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final this week says it all.

Fit and firing

Nevertheless, Nadal has put his injury problems behind him and, despite having just turned 32, he looks as fit as he ever has.

Injuries have hindered the Spaniard’s Wimbledon campaigns in recent years but assuming he comes through Sunday’s final unscathed he could yet mount an assault on the All England Club title he has won twice before.

Fighting chance?

Seventh seed Thiem is probably second only to Nadal on clay and must take confidence from two victories over the world No 1 on the surface in the last 13 months, including in Madrid just last month.

Plus he insists the pressure is all on his opponent. “I’m not the one who has the pressure. I went a very long way now and I don’t want to lose the final,” he said.

First night nerves?

Thiem reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros the previous two years, but this is the 24-year-old’s first Grand Slam final.

It will not have helped that, after beating Marco Cecchinato in the last four, the Austrian then had to watch Nadal demolish fifth seed and former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro to remind him of the enormity of his task.