World number 3 Dominic Thiem defeated his friend and rival Alexander Zverev in a five-set battle to win the US Open. After losing three finals, the Austrian became the first player born in the 90s to win a Grand Slam title (the first outside the Big 3 since Stan Wawrinka's triumph in New York in 2016).
Under two sets due to tension and not perfect physical condition, Dominic showed a remarkable resilience that allowed him to realize the dream of a lifetime. Despite the comparisons that have taken place in recent days, seven-time Slam champion Mats Wilander believes that the finalists of the US Open 2020 cannot yet be put on the same level as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Thiem returned to Vienna at this time, where he will spend a few relaxing days before going to Paris.
Wilander on the Big 3
"I don’t see a way that Thiem doesn’t win it," Mats Wilander had said then.
"Sunday, the two realized perfectly how nervous the other was. I don't know what this game means for the future." On Sunday, it was made very clear in the slugfest between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev that a lot of mental fortitude is required to win a single Major - let alone win 17-18 of them.
This led to Wilander questioning whether the duo were in the same category as champions like Nadal, Roger Federer and Djokovic. "I'm not saying Thiem and Zverev won't learn from what happened to them," Wilander said.
"I'm just saying that, for the moment, we cannot yet place them in the same category as great champions like Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. We still do not know if he will be able to dominate their nerves next time."
If Thiem overtakes Nadal, he will become the first player outside of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and former World No. 1 Andy Murray to crack the Top 2 since Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005. Thiem is the 18th different World No. 3 since then, and the 11th of that group whose career-high remains No.
3. “Honestly I didn’t think about the ranking at all so far. I was just fully focussed on the US Open the past weeks, but now the goal is to hopefully rise even higher in the rankings, which is super, super tough,” Thiem said.
“We all know the two names who are in front of me, but now it’s time to enjoy this a little bit and then get ready for the French. It’s a great opportunity, two huge tournaments in a row and I’m looking forward to it" - Thiem said.