FIRST ROUND LOSS: Bernard Tomic went down to clay specialist Austria's Dominic Thiem in Paris.
FIRST ROUND LOSS: Bernard Tomic went down to clay specialist Austria's Dominic Thiem in Paris. Michel Euler

Grass is greener than clay for Tomic

THE French Open kicked off in style with a world No.1 upset and two Australians crashing out in the opening round.

Bernard Tomic is seeking the greener pastures of Wimbledon after lasting little more than an hour in Paris.

Tasked with trying to stop Austrian enforcer Dominic Thiem, Tomic capitulated after a competitive first set to a 6-4 6-0 6-2 first-round loss to the tournament's sixth seed. He was realistic in defeat.

"I was playing top two, three player on clay, and he's been playing well, and really (I had) no chance today,” Tomic said.

"He killed me from the start.”

Indeed, Thiem is among the chief threats to Rafael Nadal's quest for a 10th French title after snapping the Spaniard's 17-match winning streak in Rome 10 days ago.

Tomic took the fight to the world No.7 early with some bold, attacking tennis early and departed Paris remaining upbeat.

"I'm not quite there near him at this moment but hopefully one day in a few years I can improve on this surface and there's been positive signs this year,” he said.

"I played really well; won three or four matches.

"I think this is my best year on clay, where I have won the most matches. So for me I'm pretty happy.

"Obviously, the draw was bad and I look to be ready on grass.”

Tomic, a quarter-finalist at the All England Club as a teenager in 2011, has reached the last 16 twice since, including last year.

He'll tune up this year with events in Halle, Stuttgart and Eastbourne, opting to skip Queens.

"I'm feeling pretty well,” Tomic said.

"Last year I played terrible on clay and I played very well on grass.

"I had a chance to make quarters at Wimbledon. I was a few points away, I think 5-3 in the fifth in the fourth round against (Lucas) Pouille and played really well in Queens, making semis.

"I didn't play that good on clay last year. This year better.

"Here at Roland Garros, I have played the wrong player in the first round and I lost and now I'm looking for the beautiful grass courts.”

Even in defeat, Australian teenager Alex De Minaur savoured his French Open debut at Roland Garros.

"It's just a great feeling. This is what you start playing tennis for,” De Minaur said after his 6-2 6-3 6-1 first-round loss to veteran Dutchman Robin Haase.

"As a little kid, you just aspire to be playing these tournaments against these players and it's an unbelievable feeling playing these tournaments.

"At the moment, my goal to is to just keep playing these tournaments and keep playing these guys and my level will get up and hopefully I'll win more matches.”

The 2016 junior Wimbledon runner-up is drawing the positives from his wildcard experience.

"What I've learnt is that I've got to be tougher, I've got to keep working and get fitter, get stronger,” De Minaur said.

"I'm happy with where my game's at, but obviously you've always got to improve.

"Especially today, I pretty much got hit off the court. Not a lot I can do when a big tall guy like him is feeling and hitting winners and just hitting me off the court.

"I gave it everything I could, but it was obviously not enough. "But this is the level that I want to be playing at. The level is obviously very high.

"You've got these guys who play every point and often they just don't give you any cheap points.

"You're not going to find those cheap points. The points you win have got to be on your terms.”

Already a Davis Cup orange boy, De Minaur said it was an honour to once again have Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt in his corner on Sunday.

"He's been in every one of my practice sessions and every match I ever play he's there,” he said.

"It's just great to have him out there and have his support.”

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