World No. 1 Novak Djokovic admitted it's good for tennis to see new guys winning Grand Slams and doing big things. Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, was defaulted from his US Open round-of-16 clash after hitting the lines women unintentionally with the ball.
Meanwhile, record 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal skipped the US Open. After the Djokovic default, it was clear tennis would get a new Grand Slam winner. Dominic Thiem, ranked at No.
3 in the world, made the most out of the favorable draw as he edged out Alexander Zverev in a five-set US Open final to lift his maiden Grand Slam title. "You want to see young guys coming up, doing great things, breaking records, being the youngest whatever that reach top 100, 50 or 10 or winning against No.
1 of the world. We need those stories, as well, for tennis. I think it's great," Djokovic said in his press conference after winning the Rome Masters. "And I think it's fantastic that we have that many young, successful, already established successful tennis players on the tour.
"But I agree with you. You know, there are guys for sure like Dimitrov that, of course, you can't not say that he hasn't been successful, because he also has been a top-10 player, which is a great success, but I agree that his potential was and still is to be higher ranked than that, to go even further maybe in slams."
Djokovic happy for Thiem
Djokovic acknowledged that the game has changed and he thinks Thiem deserved to finally win a Grand Slam title. Thiem finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in each of the past two French Open finals, before he was edged out by Djokovic in a five-set Australian Open final earlier this year.
"But look, you know, the game has changed, as well. You have tall guys likes Zverev, Medvedev serving big, Raonic. It's tough to weather that storm when it's facing you, you know, for some of these guys. Being a top player of the world, top five of the world, it requires a lot of consistency, requires a lot of determination, a lot of sacrifice throughout the year.
It's not enough to play one month a year, two months a year well. You have to play the entire year well in order to be one of the best players in the world," Djokovic said. "So that's probably the ultimate challenge we have in our sport, to be No.
1 in the longest season in sport. "But, you know, the young guys are showing some great perspective, some great potential. I think mentally and also physically and game-wise they start believing more. I mean, you know, you have new Grand Slam champion, Dominic Thiem, which is fantastic to see also. He deserves it absolutely."