Can Dominic Thiem win a Slam already this season? The Austrian is probably the closest tennis player to the Big Three. At the 2020 Australian Open final, he showed he was ready to compete with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, on all surfaces.
His improvements on hard-courts have been impressive, from the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells to the Australian Open. Yet something is still missing. We saw it right in the Melbourne final: a fact that highlights the difference between the Big Three and all the other tennis players.
Thiem won the second and third sets of the final against Nole, but here, just in the decisive moment, he was unable to snatch match and the opponent and win a challenge that could be won. Djokovic raised his level, becoming unplayable, but Thiem did not have the strength to end the match and win his first Slam.
“From my point of view, Thiem made an unforgivable mistake. After losing the first set, the second and third sets went in his direction. From the fourth set onwards, Dominic started to shorten and he stopped pushing. He decreased the intensity and stopped dictating the pace of the game.
By the time he got aggressive again, but it was too late. The beast had awakened," said Tony Nadal. And in fact, this is the summary that shows once again why Thiem has played three Slam finals but hasn't managed to win even one, up to now.
Thiem has great athletic strength, excellent technique and tactical intelligence. He has everything to win his first Major, and sooner or later it will happen but he has to improve one more step: to snatch the match and the opponent in the moment of maximum pressure, as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic do.