Dominic Thiem had some great words for Rafael Nadal after their US Open quarter-finals match. In press conference, the Austrian player said he was wishing Nadal to win his 18th Grand Slam title this week.
However, the Spaniard retired being two sets to love down to Juan Martin del Potro. 'He's a great guy. I don't want to lose against anybody. But now I wish him the title the most, that's for sure. I think we almost all the time have great matches.
I hope that we have many more in the future with a different end', Thiem said. Analyzing the match overall, the 24-year-old added: 'I started of course really fast. That's what I was hoping to do, as well.
That's what I was preparing for. But I think he was also not on his top level in the first set, for sure not. Normally he doesn't lose against nobody 6-0. But still it was great. Of course, my level dropped a little bit. Besides this first set, it was just an open and great game.' Did you learn something about Rafa from being in this match with him? 'There is not really something I can learn.
I grew up watching him playing these epic matches. I played him 10 times on clay, which was amazing. Today this first match on hard court, which was ending really unlucky for me. But I think he did everything already, so there is nothing I could learn you from him.' Thiem had the crowd on your side not because you were the underdog, but you showed them fantastic shot-making.
That had to make him feel good. 'Of course, crowd was great. I think I have a pretty attractive game. I really love to play these big matches on the big stage. It's even nicer if the crowd is also on my side. Thiem played Nadal 10 times on clay courts before.
What was the difference in his matchup on hard? 'I think this is a pretty slow hard court, so it was maybe a little bit similar to clay. Of course, not the same. But, yeah, it was just I think way better for me than, for example, the French Open final.
I don't know if it was the surface or if it was something else, but it was a good and also tough experience to play him on hard.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: I missed more Grand Slams than Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic .