World No. 3 Dominic Thiem says accepting world No. 1 Novak Djokovic's invitation to play the Adria Tour wasn't something difficult. The 26-year-old Austrian is the second highest-ranked player in the Adria Tour player field -- right behind Djokovic.
On Saturday, Thiem kicked off his Adria Tour campaign with a win after Damir Dzumhur was forced to retire their match. Thiem, who ended runner-up to Djokovic in this year's Australian Open final, was full of praise for the 33-year-old Serb as he called him the "King of Serbia."
"He called me about three of four weeks ago. Wte alked for five minutes and whenever he organizes something it must be big. He is the king of Serbia, we'll deserved. It didn't take me long to say I'm in. Maybe 10 minutes or something I was thinking.
Of course I wanted to travel again and also see the other guys," Thiem told Sport Klub after his opening match on the Adria Tour.
Dominic Thiem says it wasn't the way he wanted to win the match
Austrian tennis superstar Thiem won the opening two games of the match, before former world No.
23 Dzumhur decided to retire. Per Thiem, the three-time ATP champion from Bosnia felt good before the match but he hurt himself during the opening point of the match. Dzumhur has played lots of tennis this week as he received an Adria Tour wildcard after winning the tournament organized by the Serbian Tennis Federation.
"We had a pretty long first point. Damir had told me was fine in the warm up, and also the warm up betfore the match. The first point was long and he felt his adductor or his groin. It didn't get better after a short treatment.
I think for him it was better to stop," Thiem said. Thiem was excited to hit the court in front of a packed out crowd in Belgrade. "Good. It was the first time on the Centre Court. Before the match I felt good, I was really looking forward for a good match, especially the first match in front of a very good crowd since a while.
So I'm sad the match had to end like this but luckily there's another chance at night so I'm very excited for that," Thiem said. Dominic Thiem, a back-to-back French Open runner-up, is scheduled to meet Serb Dusan Lajovic in the evening session in Belgrade.