Dominic Thiem made a crazy comeback a few days ago by winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open 2020. The world number 3, who had lost his first three finals in the Majors, seriously risked extending his negative 3-row Alexander Zverev had advanced two sets and a break on Arthur Ashe Stadium empty (or almost).
When the fate of the match seemed sealed, Sascha’s decline and the Austrian’s exponential growth brought the match back into balance, until the thrilling conclusion of the fifth set tiebreaker. For Dominic it was a real liberation, while the German is likely to regret this defeat for a long time.
In a recent question and answer session, Thiem received many questions about Roger Federer. In particular, Nicolas Massu's pupil talked about how it feels to train and face the 20-time Grand Slam champion for the first time.
Thiem on Roger Federer
“When I was a 16-year-old junior I was allowed to practice with Roger Federer for the first time at the Aorangi Park at Wimbledon. At the beginning I was super nervous, I hardly hit a ball over the net.
After some minutes I settled in. Never ever had I thought I would ever beat Roger one day,” Dominic Thiem recalled. The Austrian also revealed the reason why Federer features at the top of his list of favorite athletes.
Thiem said: “Because he is an exceptional person. He represents the idea of superstar!” Thiem also recalled his first victory against Federer. “It was in Rome in 2016. Although it clearly needs to be stated that he was far from being physically fit in that round of 16.
He had obvious back issues. However, it was a special day for me! The most outstanding win was in the final of Indian Wells. His stardom around the world is tremendous, even more so in the US. The people like him everywhere!” The 27-year-old became the first player to lift his maiden major trophy since Marin Cilic emerged victorious at the 2014 US Open.
Between the 2017 Australian Open and this past fortnight at Flushing Meadows, only members of the Big Three — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic — earned Grand Slam glory. “I think that more younger players will win major trophies in the future, yes, but the Big Three are still around.
The next huge tournament, the French Open, is just around the corner and Rafa and Novak are in the draw,” Thiem said. “I think whenever they are in the draw they are the biggest favourites to win the title just because they are who they are. But I think it was good for men’s tennis that there is a new face on the winning list”.