Rafael Nadal is still the major favourite ahead of the 2017 French Open, according to Dominic Thiem's coach Gunter Bresnik.

Nadal kicked off his clay-court season in style, winning 17 matches in a row and grabbing titles in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

For the last two titles, the Spaniard notably defeated Dominic Thiem in both finals, but the Austrian was able to get one back after defeating Nadal in the Italian Open quarter-final, ending his winning run on clay.

Bresnik in particular took great pleasure at seeing Thiem beat Nadal for just the second time in his career in what was a big relief for him.

"Yes, because I find that Rafa right now is playing the best tennis of his life, or almost," he said, as quoted on Tennis World USA. "Beating him on centre court in Rome, in the quarter finals, that has a different significance from beating him in the semis at Buenos Aires [February 2016]. What impressed me the most was how he kept it up for two sets without the slightest bump. That amazed me."

The win was more special due to the fact that Bresnik has coached Thiem since he was eight years of age, as he spoke about how the world number seven has been improving.

"After all, I've been at Dominic's side since he was eight," he explained. "That's both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, you have to be careful not to get stuck in routines. On the other hand, it gives you the chance to shape a player exactly according to your own ideas."

"Dominic isn't the perfect player. That's [Roger] Federer. But he draws out the quintessential of his natural abilities. It's enormously satisfying. What counts is performing to the maximum of his abilities."

Despite being ecstatic with 23-year-old's performance against Nadal, Bresnik sees Thiem as an outsider for the French Open, with Nadal still as the major favourite.

"There's only one favourite," he added. "That's Rafa. After that, there are outsiders like Murray, Djokovic and Dominic. But I have no worries about supposed pressure. If he's always had one quality, it's keeping his feet on the ground."