Dominic Thiem ended Novak Djokovic's hopes of holding all four majors simultaneously for the second time in his career with a hugely impressive 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory in their French Open semi-final on Saturday.

World number one Djokovic was aiming to join Rod Laver as the only man in history to possess all four slams on two occasions, but he came unstuck against the intelligent Thiem in a match controversially held over from Friday due to bad weather. Thiem will now meet Rafael Nadal on Sunday in a repeat of last year's final.

The top seed was in a sullen mood on Friday and, despite getting a reprieve with play suspended after Thiem broke to lead 3-1 in the third set, he maintained that demeanour on another windy day on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

World number four Thiem quickly surrendered his overnight advantage but he clinched the set with a break of serve, Djokovic taking his frustrations out on chair umpire Jaume Campistol.

A double fault essentially gifted Djokovic the fourth set but Thiem, who achieved great success by drawing his opponent forward, surged ahead in the fifth, though his progress was checked by a missed chance to earn a second break just before rain forced the players off for an hour.

The 2016 champion made a strong start when the action got back under way and saved a pair of match points to get back on serve, before the Austrian sealed the deal at the third attempt to hand Djokovic his first last-four defeat at a major since the 2014 US Open.

 

Novak Djokovic was on the ropes when heavy rainfall forced him and Dominic Thiem off in their French Open semi-final on Saturday.

The match was controversially held over from Friday following inclement weather in Paris, with Thiem leading 6-2 3-6 3-1 when play resumed on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Thiem went on to claim the third set and, although Djokovic levelled by clinching the fourth, the Austrian had taken command of fifth.

High winds continued to trouble both players, though, and the covers were brought out after Djokovic saved a break point that would have seen him fall 5-1 down in the decider.

The delay may well be welcomed by Rafael Nadal, who awaits the victor in the final on Sunday, and meant the women's showpiece between Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousova would not start at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT) as scheduled.

Rafael Nadal has made the impossible possible at the French Open and is able to overcome Roger Federer in "routine" fashion on clay, says three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten.

The 'King of Clay' was in stunning form as he saw off Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Friday, extending his 100 per cent record against the Swiss in Paris to six matches.

Nadal now has a chance to become the first player to win the same grand slam on 12 separate occasions, though he will not learn of his opponent until Saturday with Novak Djokovic's match against Dominic Thiem held over due to rain.

Kuerten was in awe of Nadal's achievements in Paris and he does not believe Federer, who was featuring at the French Open for the first time since 2015, will add to his two victories over Nadal on clay – the last of which came in 2009.

"It's a once of an era rivalry. These guys are completely perfect inside and outside the court, so that is great too. And we are so lucky to have them so long in the courts," Kuerten told Omnisport in Paris.

"And, of course, Nadal we know he's the great favourite against everybody. Doesn't matter if it's the best of all time like Roger or whoever comes in at the other side.

"Here at the French Open he just feels himself. Convicted and ready, much better than the others and it makes the impossible become possible. And we can see a domination like, or even higher, than his best times on court."

Asked how impressive claiming six wins out of as many matches against Federer at the French Open is, Kuerten said: "For a human being it's impossible, and for Nadal it's normal.

"I think if they play 10 times here at French Open he's going to beat Roger every single time, especially over the next years. Now on clay for him it's the place he's preparing better and getting ready for.

"Roger is the other way around. He came this year after a long time and he knows it's more and more difficult every single year to be really successful, especially against Rafa on this surface.

"So at the end it's massive. You don't realise it can be possible but on his side, especially [on Friday] you see it's routine for him. He knows he can go there and beat Roger six out of six times. That's the reality.

"I don't see Federer or other guys beating him. Of course, the young players would have a better and better chance in the future. But I thought like that five years ago and it didn't happen, so perhaps they need to wait for their future become real another three or five years."

Roger Federer still has two or three more years left in him at the highest level, according to Gustavo Kuerten.

The 20-time major winner returned to the French Open for the first time since 2015 this year and made it all the way to the semi-finals, where he was resoundingly beaten 6-3 6-4 6-2 by the irrepressible Rafael Nadal.

Nadal is now unbeaten in six meetings with Federer at Roland Garros, with the Swiss having won just two matches on the red dirt against the 'King of Clay'.

The 37-year-old has pared back his schedule since a series of injury problems in 2016, but three-time French Open winner Kuerten does not anticipate him retiring soon.

Asked how long he expects Federer to continue playing, Kuerten joked to Omnisport: "I guess two to 20 more years!

"I guess it's his choice, you know. I understand he would be able to stay for a while. Two, three more years, another Olympics try to [get a] flavour [of] the gold on singles.

"It's his call, more than ever. We already applaud him and being so fortunate to watch all of his glamorous career.

"Federer for me is much more than tennis and sports. It's kind of human patrimony that we are receiving over these last 20 years."

The women's French Open final will be contested by Marketa Vondrousova and Ashleigh Barty after they won their last-four clashes, but only one of the men's finalists is known.

Rafael Nadal maintained his perfect record in Roland Garros semi-finals to reach the showpiece with a commanding 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory over Roger Federer, but Novak Djokovic's meeting with Dominic Thiem was suspended until Saturday due to rain with the Austrian leading 3-1 in the third set.

Omnisport's man on the ground Tom Webber provides an update from his daily diary in Paris.

 

GUGA SITS DOWN WITH OMNISPORT

It's always good to hear from the experts, and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten provided his thoughts on the men's semi-finalists in Paris.

The Brazilian was thoroughly entertaining to listen to and effusive in his praise of 12-time finalist Nadal.

Kuerten was at the interesting location of Ground Control - a large warehouse with a touchtennis court in the middle of it - for a sponsorship event.

 

LAVER HONOURED BEFORE FEDERER-NADAL

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of his second calendar Grand Slam, Rod Laver was invited onto Court Philippe-Chatrier prior to the semi-final between Nadal and Federer.

A video about his accomplishment was played on the big screen before French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli and French Open tournament director Guy Forget presented him with a replica of La Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Who will get their hands on the real on one Sunday, though?

 

 

VIVE LA FRANCE!

Roland Garros is no longer the only major sporting event in town.

The Women's World Cup is being hosted by France this year and ahead of the opening match between France and South Korea at the nearby Parc des Princes, workers on the metro showed their patriotism with face paint.

With the tricolore adorning their cheeks, they ensured people got on and off carriages safely at busy stations.

 

COURT SIMONNE-MATHIEU A DELIGHT

Inaugurated in March this year, the 5,000-seater Court Simonne-Mathieu is a magnificent addition to Roland Garros.

The semi-sunken stadium is surrounded by four greenhouses, each showcasing rare plants from South America, south east Asia and Australia.

A roof of specially treated glass curves over the seating from those structures to provide shelter without throwing shade on the court.

The walk down is just as good; you can either feel like you're strolling through a park or go via the elegant Orangerie.

But while it is beautiful, as Johanna Konta said following her straight-sets defeat to Vondrousova, it's hardly a stage befitting of a grand slam semi-final.

Roger Federer was powerless to resist a relentless Rafael Nadal as the reigning French Open champion triumphed 6-3 6-4 6-2 in their semi-final at Roland Garros on Friday.

But it was why Federer came back to clay.

After overcoming close friend Stan Wawrinka in a thoroughly entertaining four-set match on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Tuesday, he stated his motivation to get back on the red dirt for the first time since 2015 was the chance to take on Nadal – a point he reiterated after the surprised Spaniard refused to believe the remarks when they were put to him in a news conference.

"For me to get to Rafa is not simple. It took five matches here for me to win to get there. That's why I'm very happy to play Rafa, because if you want to do or achieve something on the clay, inevitably, at some stage, you will go through Rafa, because he's that strong and he will be there," said Federer.

"I knew when I signed up for the clay that hopefully that's going to happen. If I would have had a different mindset to avoid him, then I should not have played the clay. I think that mindset helped me to play so well so far this tournament."

It was an insight into a truly astounding thought process, the kind that only someone with 20 major titles to their name could possess. Most professionals would be elated to taste glory at the French Open and let someone else do the difficult job of ousting the 'King of Clay', something that has happened just twice in his 94 matches at Roland Garros. But not Federer. He wanted it the hard way.

Beating Nadal on clay is the ultimate challenge, something made even more difficult by the fact he is left handed. No man in the Open Era has dominated on the surface to the extent of the world number three, whose 11 crowns in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Paris are unparalleled.

It is something Federer knows all too well. He has lost all six of his meetings with Nadal at the French Open, four of them coming in successive years and three of them in the final.

Having sat out Roland Garros in 2016 following knee and back issues, Federer opted to skip the following two editions to focus on grass and hard courts. The Swiss realised after a five-set semi-final loss to Milos Raonic at that year's Wimbledon that his age meant he needed to change his approach to ensure he remained healthy enough to continue competing at the highest level.

But when your body is breaking down and your status as an all-time great is already secure, why continue? How do you remain motivated when you have spent 13 years at the top of the sport?

For Federer, it was his love of tennis and passion for the finer details that got him through. Titles were no longer what he sought. Instead, he focused on the minutiae. He delved into the intricacies of the game and found new challenges. 

"You improve a lot as a kid, as a junior, as a teenager, and then all of a sudden progress is slow. At one point you come to a place where you're trying to just get back to that good place time and time again," he said after easing past Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round.

"I guess that's what I have been seeking, chasing, for the last however many years. And as different players come, you realise you have to adjust a little bit, either with your serve, either you tinker with technology, with the racquet size or whatever string technology, and maybe take the ball earlier or later.

"Whatever you're trying to do, there's always going to be a plan behind it. But I think tennis is a great sport, it never gets boring, because every day plays different, every opponent plays different, every guy gives you different struggles. For that reason, I never got bored of the game.

"That I see as a motivation, and then of course it's easy to be motivated playing at this kind of a stadium with full crowds, giving a standing ovation at the end. I would admit I would be struggling on court whatever, 23, with impossible shades and no people watching, especially after living the big courts."

Speaking after his straight-sets defeat on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Federer admitted he does not think there is anyone who could help him prepare to face Nadal on clay.

But he should be applauded for his desire to take on the ultimate challenge.

Dominic Thiem will resume on Saturday with a slender lead over Novak Djokovic after bad weather prevented their French Open semi-final from being completed on Friday.

Djokovic struggled in high winds in a first set that Thiem won 6-2 at Roland Garros, but the top seed weathered the storm to take the second 6-3.

Last year's runner-up Thiem had just gone a break up at 3-1 in the third set when the players went off with rain lashing down and they were unable to return.

With Storm Miguel approaching Paris, Rafael Nadal overcame tough conditions - with wind whipping clay off the surface - to beat old foe Roger Federer in straight sets in the other last-four showdown.

Djokovic - bidding to hold all four major titles for the second time in his career - was visibly troubled by strong gusts from the start as he struggled with the ball toss and went a break down at 2-1 after netting a backhand off balance before a brief rain delay.

The composed Thiem was whipping up a storm of his own and the unsettled Serbian prodded a volley into the net to go a double break down at 5-2 in one of several unsuccessful forays forward.

Thiem served out the set to love in emphatic fashion and Djokovic fended off a couple of break points early in the second prior to a heavy shower, which took the players off.

Djokovic looked much more at home when play resumed, executing an exquisite drop shot to perfection and breaking for a 5-3 advantage after working the Austrian from side to side.

The 2016 champion charged forward to steer away a backhand winner and level the match, but Thiem mixed up his game in cute fashion and took the initiative in the third set before the weather halted his momentum.

Rafael Nadal is hopeful he has not faced Roger Federer for the last time at the French Open as the legendary duo are having too much success to consider retiring.

Nadal continued his astonishing dominance at Roland Garros with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 semi-final victory in high winds on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The second seed stands on the brink of winning the Paris grand slam 12 times after mastering his old rival on Friday.

Federer had been hugely impressive in his first appearance at the tournament since 2015 and Nadal believes they could meet again in the second major of the year.

Asked whether it he thought it might be the last time they do battle in the French Open, Nadal replied: "No, no, it didn't even come to mind.

"It can always be the last time, indeed. But the logic of life incites us to think it's the last time and that we are coming ever closer to the last time. That's a logical reality, because years are going by.

"We all have our small problems. We all have our age, which is increasing. I hope that it was not the last time yet. And I believe that him and I appreciate such matches.

"We live them with particular emotion after all that we have shared on the court. And it's true that we are getting older, but at the same time, we are still in the semi-finals of the French Open.

"So if we are here, we don't think about retiring."

Nadal, who will face either Novak Djokovic or Dominic Thiem in the final, also believes his incredible tally of French Open triumphs can be bettered.

The Spaniard added: "I'm certain that another player can do it in the future. But it's true that you need to have qualities, physical qualities, and a long enough career to do so.

"You need to have the possibility to play at least 11 French Opens to win 11 times. It's complicated. Will we see that again in the future? Yes, I hope so, because records are meant to be broken.

"And when you break a record, you promote our sport. That's always something positive."

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer met in a grand slam semi-final for just the fourth time at the French Open on Friday.

The 'King of Clay' lived up to his billing on Court Philippe-Chatrier as he comprehensively defeated Federer 6-3 6-4 6-2 to end the impressive run of the Swiss, making his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015.

Victory for Nadal extended his 100 per cent record against the 20-time major champion at the French Open - he was won all six of their meetings in Paris.

Nadal has also triumphed in every one of the pair's slam semi-finals. We take a look at how each of those matches unfolded.

 

 

 

2019 French Open: Nadal [2] bt Federer [3] 6-4 6-3 6-2

Nadal claimed his first win over Federer since 2014, ending a five-match losing streak to reach a 12th Roland Garros final.

The duo exchanged early breaks before the 17-time major champion converted his sixth chance in game six of the first set and went on to seal the opener with a stunning cross-court backhand.

Nadal immediately got the contest back on serve after faltering in game two of the second and the match was effectively decided when Federer failed to close out behind his own serve from 40-0 up in the ninth game.

The 37-year-old cut a frustrated figure thereafter as Nadal charged to victory, breaking twice in a one-sided decider.

 

2014 Australian Open: Nadal [1] bt Federer [6] 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3

Nadal forced Federer onto the back foot in their third major semi-final, despite a blister on his playing hand.

The Spaniard missed three chances to break in the opening set but Federer, who sent a tame volley into the net before closing the deficit from 5-1 to 5-4, was unable to stop him edging in front.

Nadal took a medical time-out after racing through the first game of the second, though it did not stop him playing a stunning forehand into the corner to claim a crucial break for a 4-2 lead.

Federer, with Stefan Edberg in his box, cancelled out an early drop of serve in the fourth, before Nadal's irrepressible forehand took centre stage and led him to the final.

However, Stan Wawrinka stopped him becoming just the third man to win all four majors at least twice.

 

2012 Australian Open: Nadal [2] bt Federer [3] 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-4

Nadal confessed to having spent time before his opening match at Melbourne Park crying due to a knee injury, but he came from a set down to defeat Federer less than two weeks later.

Federer took the opening three games and although Nadal got the contest back on serve in the seventh with a sweet passing shot, it was the Swiss who came out on top in a tie-break.

However, after falling a break down in set two, Federer dropped his serve following a 10-minute pause in the action for Australia Day fireworks and the relentless Nadal restored parity.

Federer saved five set points before succumbing in a third-set tie-break and the Spaniard continued to apply the pressure, converting break point at the fifth attempt in game nine of the fourth.

Nadal served out the match to reach the final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets.

 

2005 French Open: Nadal [4] bt Federer [1] 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3

An elbow injury kept Nadal out of Roland Garros in 2003 and an ankle fracture sidelined him the following year, but the Spaniard, then just 19, certainly made his mark when he debuted in Paris.

By the time he went up against Federer he had already claimed five titles and 22 match wins on clay in the year. The Swiss struggled from the off on Court Philippe-Chatrier and dropped his serve four times in the opening set.

Nadal sent a backhand into the net as the world number one got back on level terms, but some crushing groundstrokes put the youngster back in command.

He eventually prevailed in four sets and went on to defeat Mariano Puerta in the final to become the youngest French Open winner since Michael Chang in 1989.

It was the start of his incredible love affair with La Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Roger Federer does not believe there is anyone who can help him prepare for Rafael Nadal on clay after the reigning French Open champion was the dominant winner in their semi-final on Friday.

Nadal reached his 12th final at Roland Garros by recording his sixth victory in as many matches against Federer in Paris, surging to a commanding 6-3 6-4 6-2 triumph on Court Philippe-Chatrier in two hours and 25 minutes.

The 20-time major champion boasts just two wins in 16 meetings with the 'King of Clay' on the red dirt, his only successes coming in Hamburg in 2007 and in Madrid two years later.

Federer was making his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, missing 2016 with injury and the 2017 and 2018 tournaments to focus on grass and hard courts, and is unsure any training partner could improve his chances against the Spaniard.

"He makes you feel uncomfortable the way he defends the court and plays on clay. There is nobody who even plays remotely close to him," said the Swiss.

"I don't even know who I need to go search for to go practice with somebody who plays like him. I was thinking that during the match.

"It's just amazing how he plays from deep and then is able to bounce back and forth from the baseline. It's just quite interesting.

"But my mindset still was, it's windy, anything can happen. I didn't play poor [in the] two first sets in my opinion.

"I thought Rafa really had to come up with the goods to make the difference, and the difference was a passing shot here, a pick up there, and then he was doing great."

Federer was pleased by his performances at Roland Garros after three years off clay and suggested it makes it more likely he will return next year.

"I think I played really well. I think I surprised myself maybe how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout," he said.

"And next year, just like with any other tournament, I don't know. We'll see what happens. But I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and the French Open, so that would help the chances to return to the clay.

"It's not like it's been a shocker. So from that standpoint, it's okay."

On the exceptionally windy conditions on Chatrier, he added: "You get to a point where you're just happy to make shots and not look ridiculous. It's that bad. It's just really difficult for both of us.

"I don't think I played poorly in the wind today. It's just it's tough on clay. You've got to try to take on the half-volleys, too, all that stuff. It just adds to the equation. He's the best clay-court player, so I can accept that. It's not a problem."

Rafael Nadal hailed Roger Federer as "the best player in history" after blowing his old rival away in the Paris wind to reach a 12th French Open final.

Federer felt the full force of the 11-time Roland Garros champion with Storm Miguel fast approaching on Friday.

Defending champion Nadal won 6-3 6-4 6-2 with winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour gusting on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal had not beaten the 20-time grand slam winner for five years and, despite taking just two hours and 25 minutes to down the Swiss great, the second seed said it was by no means straightforward.

"It was a pleasure to play Roger. It was a high level all three sets, which was remarkable in this wind," Nadal said in his on-court interview after ending Federer's first French Open appearance for four years.

"He is the best player in history and it's been a great pleasure to play against Roger.

"It was difficult to play against Roger in those conditions. I'm really happy, I'm into the final of the most important final of my career."

Nadal will come up against either world number one Novak Djokovic or last year's runner-up Dominic Thiem in the decider.

The Spaniard is three slam titles behind Federer's tally.

Rafael Nadal reached his 12th French Open final as he extended his perfect record against Roger Federer at Roland Garros with a resounding 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory on a windy Friday in Paris.

The irrepressible 'King of Clay' ended a five-match losing run against Federer with his sixth win in clashes between them at this event, denying the Swiss a triumphant return on the red dirt after sitting out the past three editions of the competition.

Federer was unable to handle Nadal in rallies and the Spaniard's exemplary groundstrokes helped him move one match away from becoming the first player to win 12 titles at the same major. He has never lost a semi-final or final in Paris.

The 37-year-old Federer was looking to become the third-oldest man to reach a grand slam final in the Open Era and the oldest at Roland Garros, but his hopes of a shock victory were essentially wiped out when he dropped serve from 40-0 up in game nine of the second set.

An increasingly frustrated Federer lashed a ball into the stands after failing to adjust when a Nadal backhand clipped the net cord and gave the 17-time major champion an early break in the third.

Chants of "Roger" rang out on Court Philippe-Chatrier but he was unable to stop a rampant Nadal advancing to a final against world number one Novak Djokovic or Dominic Thiem, who he beat in last year's showpiece.

Novak Djokovic joined Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday, while in the women's draw Amanda Anisimova caused an upset by eliminating defending champion Simona Halep.

With the matches that were held over from Wednesday due to bad weather finally completed, Omnisport's man on the ground Tom Webber provides an update from his daily diary.

 

TOP SEED WOULDN'T PICK TOP GUN

Not at a single point has Djokovic's hopes of holding all four majors for the second time in his career looked like Mission Impossible.

The Serbian has cruised through his opening five matches in Paris, defeating Hubert Hurkacz, Henri Laaksonen, Salvatore Caruso, Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Zverev without dropping a set.

However, if a film were to be made about him, Tom Cruise would not be his pick for the leading role.

"I probably wouldn't choose Tom if I had a choice, even though of course I respect him," said Djokovic, who denied any aspirations to feature on the silver screen himself.

When the next reporter suggested the questions get back to tennis, the Serbian let out a sigh before assenting.

 

DOG DAYS

A metro ride to Roland Garros can be a pretty dull affair.

However, if a dog climbs aboard your carriage, as occurred for Omnisport's reporter, the journey immediately becomes a lot better.

Rain the previous day led to a 24-hour paws in the schedule and tournament director Guy Forget being hounded by the media about contingency plans for the semi-finals.

However, seeing a pooch on the underground meant Thursday got off to a bright start, despite opting against leaning in for a groundstroke.

 

MCENROE SHOUTS AT A BABY

It's definitely not as bad as it sounds, though.

The legends matches have provided good entertainment for the public while they wait for the show courts to open.

John McEnroe was – as usual – playing up to the crowd during an enjoyable doubles match against Younes El Aynaoui and Cedric Pioline.

The American, who reached the final at Roland Garros in 1984, threw his racket in the air after lost points and playfully teased the crowd.

Reprimanding a screaming baby with a shout of "Silence, s'il vous plait!" drew laughs, as did belting out his famous phrase: "You cannot be serious!"

 

E-ASY MONEY

The first eTennis tournament will take place at Roland Garros this year and the schedule was announced on Thursday.

Unsurprisingly, the game played will be the Roland Garros edition of Tennis World Tour.

Among the 12 competitors aiming to reach Sunday's final on the Bullring are Rogederer - see what he's done there?

The winner of the tournament, which will be commentated on by Philippe Chatrier's grandson Norman, will take home a cool €5,000.

Novak Djokovic expects Dominic Thiem to challenge at an increasing number of majors but is unsure if the Austrian can replace Andy Murray as the "Ringo Starr" of tennis' "Fab Four".

Djokovic, Murray, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have dominated the modern era of the sport, with all but one of the grand slam finals since the 2005 French Open seeing at least one of them feature.

Murray has only played three grand slam matches since reaching the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2017 due to the struggles with injury that forced him to take an extended break from the sport, though he has confirmed he will return to play doubles at Queen's in June.

Clay-court specialist Thiem finished as the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2018 and will meet Djokovic in the semi-finals this year, the top four players reaching the penultimate round of an ATP Tour event for the first time since the 2012 Australian Open.

When asked if the Austrian can replace Murray as the "Ringo Starr" of a group with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, the world number one laughed and said: "I'm sure some people would debate if Ringo Starr was the least famous. Some people liked him the most!"

He continued: "I think it's great to have the top four players competing in the semi-finals on the biggest event because it brings even more rivalry, more importance to those matches and to the tournament in general.

"I want to say that I'm really pleased to see that [Murray's] coming back to the court. He's going to play doubles, and hopefully singles very soon after.

"And Dominic is deservedly where he is, one of the top four guys, especially on clay. That's where he's playing his best tennis.

"If he continues playing this way, not just on clay but in general, I think we will probably be seeing him more often on different surfaces in the final stages of the tournament.

"How far us four, other than at this tournament can create something that we have created with Andy? I don't know. It's a different time for us now than it was five years ago now. We're a bit older.

"But, you know, we have still been enjoying some of our best tennis in the biggest events, talking about Federer, Nadal, and myself. That's great to see.

"Obviously, Nadal and Federer are arguably the biggest legends of this sport and best players, [most] successful players ever, so to be in the mix with them and to have myself a successful career is quite a great feeling."

This year's French Open will also see Djokovic, Federer and Nadal compete in the semi-finals at the same grand slam for the first time in seven years.

"I mean, Roger didn't play the last couple of years [at Roland Garros], if I'm not mistaken. You know, it happens. In big tournaments like slams … it seems like everyone has an extra gear, extra motivation to really perform their best and to shine in these tournaments," said the top seed in Paris.

"Because obviously these tournaments count the most in the history of our sport, so of course they inspire players to play their best. And you can actually see more surprising wins against top players here and maybe other tournaments.

"I think we all have been quite consistent. I didn't know about that, so it's great."

Dominic Thiem is under no illusions as to the colossal task ahead as he prepares for the French Open semi-finals alongside Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

For the first time since the 2012 Australian Open, the top four players in the ATP rankings have reached the semis of a Tour-level event, while Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have not all made the last four of a slam since that same year's tournament at Roland Garros.

Thiem, the 2018 runner-up to Nadal, has now reached this stage in four consecutive editions but never before has he faced such a daunting line-up of semi-final foes, the much-vaunted trio boasting 52 major crowns between them.

The Austrian completed a routine 6-2 6-4 6-2 quarter-final success over Karen Khachanov and faces Djokovic on Friday – a man he has beaten twice in eight attempts – before a potential showdown against Federer or 11-time champion Nadal.

"I mean, it's incredibly difficult to win a grand slam," Thiem told a news conference.

"Especially for us players who didn't have one yet, because if everything goes quite normal, we have to beat two players with 15 or more grand slams. So, I think everybody can imagine how difficult this is.

"But I will step on the court tomorrow, try everything, of course, give everything. I hope it's going to be positive in the end, but the challenge is huge.

"Novak is in very good shape again, probably playing his best tennis of his life. I'm in the semi-finals with maybe the three best players of all time, so everybody can see how tough the way it is for me.

"But for me it's amazing. The surface doesn't matter against them. All of them have won all four slams, so surface doesn't really matter.

"They are so tough on any of the surfaces. I think it never happens in any era of men's tennis that you have three players with 15-plus grand slams. I mean, they are the only three with 15-plus grand slams. That shows it all.

"I'm now in the fourth time here in the semis, and I know now how tough it is to get here, to get that deep in a tournament. And these three, they are doing it since, I don't know, 10, 15 years almost at any grand slam. So that shows what their level is. So they are absolutely amazing."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.