In the 2014 French Open Dominic Thiem won just seven games against Rafael Nadal. Back in the day, would the Austrian have thought to be one of the top favourites in the tournament five years after? "I didn't win many more games last year in the finals (smiling).
Not really, I didn't think that I'm going to go with the expectations or with the wish to win the tournament five years ago. Back then I was ranked, I don't know, 80 or 70. My thought was just to stay there, to stay in the top 100, make a decent career.
Of course, I was never hoping to be top 5 or something. But it's a good thing. Really happy how my career went so far. But I want to get even better and to reach even higher goals." Dominic Thiem commented on one-handed backhand players like him and Stefanos Tsitsipas beating Rafael Nadal on clay.
The Austrian player said: "I think if you have very good one-handed backhand, it's not a problem. It's maybe even a little advantage on clay. Like Tsitsipas or me, we can go back and we can really play so much spin with the one-handed backhand.
I think this is not possible with a two-handed. With a two-handed, you have to do like Novak, be on the line, take the ball on the rise, which is so tough. I think this is almost impossible. If you have a good one, if you have a fast one, it's not a disadvantage."
Thiem also added: "It's pretty different because, in best-of-three match, you have to be on full fire from the first point on. All match long basically it's not allowed to have some up and downs. I think in the five-setter, it is not possible.
At one point each of the two players going to have a little bit of a down, then an up again. I think if you play Grand Slam tournaments, from the first match on, full power from the mental side and physical side, you're not going to make it.
You have to stay a little bit more relaxed, I would say, than in a best-of-three tournament. Just save all your powers, mentally and physically, for the later matches and for the end of the two weeks because it's going to be very long.
It's going to be long matches. All the time this feeling to be in the tournament takes a lot of energy from the body. It's the most important thing to really save the energy."