Former world No. 3 Dominic Thiem said it was unreal to beat Roger Federer en route to winning his first grass court title. In the 2016 Stuttgart semifinal, Thiem recovered from a set down to beat Federer 3-6 7-6 (7) 6-4. "Even though it was not Roger's best year, it was unreal for me to beat him," Thiem said on ATP legacy, per Sportskeeda.
In 2016, Thiem was making his first big steps on the ATP Tour and entered the grass season without any past notable results on the surface. "I just remember that the preparation was really short because I played the semis of the French Open.
That moment was the best in my career until then because I had just broken into the top 10 in my first Grand Slam semifinals. I think I played on Friday there and arrived in Stuttgart on Sunday or Monday," Thiem said. "I only had 2 or 3 days on grass and the 2 previous years on grass were pretty bad for me.
I think I only had one or two wins on that surface."
Thiem on beating Federer
Federer, who was the big favorite versus Thiem, won the first set and recovered from a 0-5 second set deficit to force a tie-break. However, Thiem managed to win the second set and then the third set to complete a comeback victory.
"I went in with a very easy mindset just to enjoy playing against Roger on a grasscourt," Thiem recalled. "I lost the first set and I think I was 5-0 up in the second. He came back to 5-5. I said to myself if I can win the second set I can also win the match and that is how it turned out."
After beating Federer, Thiem defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Stuttgart final 6-7 (2) 6-4 6-4. "When the finals came, I said, well, there is a chance to win a grass-court title. This would be absolutely amazing and I was giving everything I had," Thiem concluded.