The Spaniard, written off as a contender in Paris after a quarter-final loss to Novak Djokovic in 2015 and an injury-enforced pull-out before the third round a year ago, arrives at Roland Garros as the new favourite to add the 2017 title to victories in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
"I always feel extra motivation when I come to a Slam, even if I've been playing badly".
"Rafa is the number one favourite", said Djokovic.
"I think this could be potentially very exciting bringing on Andre", ESPN pundit and former world number four Brad Gilbert said of Djokovic, who has trended downwards since competing his career grand slam by beating Murray in the 2016 final.
"With Novak sort of hitting that peak by winning the French past year he has talked about some issues off court, some motivational issues, so perhaps Andre can give him an insight into an avenue, a way where to be more easily fired up".
After ending 2016 in such good form, Murray's 28-match winning streak was halted by Novak Djokovic in the Qatar Open final at the start of the year.
The 22-year-old has made encouraging progress since a disappointing Australian Open but his claycourt season has been disrupted by the death of his grandfather, injuries and mixed results. "I played the best player on clay three times in three tournaments", Thiem told reporters on Friday. Towards the end of past year, Murray seized on Djokovic's slide to rise to the top of the rankings.
"That's where it is very important that when you do achieve something big, like when I won Wimbledon the first time, I felt like that was why I was playing, really". He has built one of the more successful careers in the modern game through intense and relentless selfbelief.
"I need to enjoy my struggle a little bit just now and that will help me get through it quicker, I believe".
The women's tournament is the most open in living memory with Serena Williams on maternity leave and Maria Sharapova having been denied a wild card.
Title favourite Simona Halep, who is battling an ankle injury, was drawn in the same quarter as Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who beat her in the final in Rome last weekend.
The tournament will also see two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova making her comeback less than six months after she was stabbed during an attack at home in the Czech Republic. I was very pumped and motivated for Australia.
He said: "It's been frustrating, obviously, because it's the third time this year where I've missed days or been in bed for a few days". It's true that he's the defending champion, but he has not been the same player in the previous year that he was heading into the 2016 event.
This year's Roland Garros will be the last for Nadal's coach, his uncle Toni.
She is far from a natural on clay, though, and has only won two matches in three warm-up tournaments.
With files from The Canadian Press.