Dominic Thiem said he felt relaxed on the morning of his 2020 US Open final but the anxiety started to kick in as soon as he took out on Arthur Ashe to play Alexander Zverev. At the 2020 US Open, Thiem made his fourth Grand Slam final.
Thiem got off to a very slow start to the final but recovered to beat Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-4 7-6 (3). “I remember [that morning] quite well, actually. I just remember it was a normal morning. The warmup was very good with [coach] Nico Massu.
I had a great feeling. It was not that different to the other three Grand Slam finals that I played,” Thiem told the ATP website. “The bad things started when the match started. I was all of a sudden unbelievably nervous, unbelievably tight”.
Thiem on what he told himself down by two sets to Zverev
Down by two sets in the 2020 US Open final, Thiem simply figured out that he would lose if he kept playing tight. That helped Thiem to relax and he ended up clinching a big comeback victory in the final.
“I tried to relax myself and say to myself, ‘If I don’t relax now, if I don’t release now, I’m going to lose anyway’,” Thiem revealed. “That’s kind of the last chance I have to release the hand brake, to play more aggressive, to play more fast”.
Leading up to the US Open, Thiem played just one match. In the Cincinnati Masters first round - which that year was held in New York - Thiem suffered a brutal 6-2 6-1 loss to Filip Krajinovic. In the same interview for the ATP website, Thiem revealed that he decided to take a day or two off and do non-tennis things so he would forget that loss.
That in the end proved to be a good decision for Thiem. Thiem didn't play at the US Open last year because of a wrist injury. This year, Thiem is making his US Open return as he plays Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round.