In an interview, Dominic Thiem recalled how it felt like to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 2016. The Austrian defeated the Swiss in Rome and Halle, and he beat Nadal in Buenos Aires. "It was two of the most special wins for me.
Very close matches, I saved match points in both of them. When I was a kid, they were the two players who I watched the most on TV, so it was something very big for me. On their two favourite surfaces. It was something amazing and without a doubt a big confidence boost that made me believe in myself."
Asked if he struggles in dealing with pressure and money, Thiem replied: "There is no problem. I am not the kind of player who has won a Grand Slam at 18 years. Nothing came too fast, I am earning experience and I will make all the steps.
Step by step, without being in a rush." Recalling his beginnings on Tour, the 25-year-old added: "It was really tough. You crack the top 100 rankings and you note the different level of the best guys, how good they are.
In the end, you want to be one of them and when you start, you realize how tough the way is." Thiem finally commented on his relationship with his former coach Gunter Bresnik who was replaced by Nicolas Massu: "Not friends, but we're okay.
We were never friends", said laughing the world No. 5, who will face Fernando Verdasco or Kyle Edmund in the Rome opening round.