In London we saw Danil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem clash: for years there has been talk of this much feared change at the top, but in fact it never materialized as the players who had been deemed up to the task never managed to find continuity, some for one reason and some for another.
Dominic Thiem seems to be the closest in level and experience accumulated to the Big Three. 2020 was the year of consecration for him, with his first Grand Slam victory in New York, on a surface that many believed could not enhance his style of play.
His tennis made of great physicality and extremely powerful fundamentals must always be supported by a top physical condition, and when this happens he can really beat anyone. Medvedev, who by removing the month of November had a 2020 below expectations, has shown that he has peaks in his level of play during which it becomes almost impossible to beat.
Excellent serve, deadly backhand, forehand not beautiful to look at but extremely effective in the maneuvering phase and much improved also in thrust, especially in the last two seasons. The final lost dramatically in five sets at the Australian Open against Novak Djokovic was already an excellent business card for the Austrian, who was able to beat Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev in that tournament.
Dominic Thiem's 2021: to prove he's worth the Big Three
After the lockdowns and the resumption of comeptitions, the feelings were not positive after his bad Western & Southern Open. But in the Flushing Meadows bubble he was able to subvert all doubts on the eve of the US Open, beating Alexander Zverev in the final and winning his first Grand Slam, after a crazy match, in which he was literally on the brink.
However, it must be said that his path was paved by the disqualification of Novak Djokovic and the absences of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. However, it was his beloved clay-swing that betrayed him: both in Rome and at Roland Garros, where he lost to Diego Schwartzman as a defending finalist.
At the end of the season he also reached his second final at the O2 Arena in London for the year-end Masters, but was again defeated, this time by Daniil Medvedev. So what to expect from Dominic Thiem for 2021? He must confirm what he saw in 2020, with the improvements on fast surfaces and with the victory in a Grand Slam.
It won't be easy though: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are at the peak of their fight for the record Slam, the other guys want to carve out their space. ù2021 will be a season of struggle for everyone, first of all for Thiem, who is called to confirm and improve: a difficult task, but after the Big Three, at the moment, he seems the only one who can do it.