Dominic Thiem: 'Beating Rafael Nadal in 2016 made me understand one thing'

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Dominic Thiem: 'Beating Rafael Nadal in 2016 made me understand one thing'

In an interview to Clarin, Dominic Thiem recalled his semifinals win over Rafael Nadal in the 2016 Buenos Aires Open. The Austrian saved match points to defeat the king of clay and then eventually win the title. "I think that when I defeated Nadal here, in Buenos Aires, for the first time, I realized that I could beat real legends.

It was unbelievable and I think that when you win one it's easier, because you understand that you can do it. It's different when you cannot win", said Thiem. On how it feels to beat the best players, world No. 8 added: "It's very special...

These are players that I always saw on TV, and that when I was seeing them I was like "These guys are impressive, beating them is impossible" But then you start raising, playing big tournaments and as planning matches you see that you believe you can win them more and more; you think 'I need to do this and that and do not let them do that", and without realizing it you realize that you are planning to win these unbelievable players."

Thiem also praised Muster's legacy in tennis: "Thomas is the ultimate reference. In some ways, I owe to him playing tennis, because thank to what he did, a lot of courts were built in Austria." He finally reassessed his 2018: "It was definitely my best season in career.

Although I did not end that high like in other times, it was the year where I earned most points, I won my first indoor title, I reached the French Open final, US Open quarters, and some big results against the big guys. It was the best year of my life, by far."