No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem has shown his respect and appreciation for Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after making his fourth Grand Slam final at the US Open. Thiem, ranked at No. 3 in the world, saw off Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to set up a Zverev US Open final.
Previously, Thiem was beaten twice Nadal in both of his French Open finals and earlier this year he lost to Djokovic in a five-set Australian Open final. "I mean, it's a long story with them. Well, I started to watch Roger when I was only probably seven or eight years old.
When he faced the first time Rafa in Roland Garros, I was only I guess 11," Thiem recalled. "First of all, I was watching, admiring them. Then when I got bigger and older, I was still watching them and trying to learn from them, trying to put the great parts what they have in their games into my game.
Then finally the last stage what I came to was playing against them. "With every single match, doesn't matter if it's a win or a loss against them, it was a huge, huge experience for me. I learned a lot from every single match of them, against them, also every win against these three players, which are without a doubt the three greatest players which ever played that sport.
So every win against them was a huge boost of confidence and a huge experience. "Well, throughout the years, first only watching, then watching and learning, then playing them. Was great experiences. Definitely they are also a part of the player I became now."
Thiem says winning a Grand Slam is his biggest goal and dream
Zverev edged out Pablo Carreno Busta in five sets to make his maiden Grand Slam final and he will be also very determined to win his maiden Major title this Sunday.
"It's the biggest goal and also the biggest dream I have in my tennis career since a few years. I mean, since the moment I realized that maybe one day I can make it, and especially since I played the first finals of the French Open '18.
This was the biggest goal I want to achieve," Thiem said. "It was really tough to digest that loss in Australia as I was super close back then. I'm happy that I gave myself pretty short time after that another chance with this win today, with the finals on Sunday.
"Of course, it's pressure for me. At the same time I try to think not too much about it, no. At one point definitely I'll try everything to achieve the goal, to win the final on Sunday. On the other hand I face a great, great opponent.
"He's also more than capable of winning that final. If it's not going to happen on Sunday, well, I have to continue working and maybe get the chance at another slam. Well, the chance is now on Sunday. I'll try everything to make it."