World number 3 Dominic Thiem was recently called upon to choose his five favorite athletes of all time. The Austrian player, engaged this week in front of a friendly public from Vienna, has selected respectively Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Diego Armando Maradona, Rafael Nadal and Michael Schumacher.
2020 was a great season for Dominic, who started the year with a tremendous hoax at the Australian Open. Nicolas Massu's protégé had come one step away from the title, but had to suffer Novak Djokovic's comeback in the final, postponing his first Grand Slam appointment.
Thiem would redeem himself at the US Open, becoming the first tennis player born in the 90s to win a major. The fatigue accumulated in the United States presented the bill during Roland Garros, which saw him leave the scene in the quarters at the hands of a wild Diego Schwartzman.
Thiem on Roger Federer
"Roger Federer! And this is not because I see it through my rose-tinted tennis glasses like that. Roger put the entire sport of tennis on a new level. On and off the court – an icon, a true superstar!" answered Dominic Thiem.
Dominic Thiem then picked Diego Maradona as the third greatest athlete, labeling him a football genius. Another tennis legend who earned a spot on Dominic Thiem's list was current World No. 2 Rafael Nadal. "Rafael Nadal!
His dominating game on clay and at the French Open says it all – this is surely a record for the tennis eternity. He has constantly been developing his game. We get along well. I admired him when I was a child. He is a totally easy going guy, always friendly and helpful," Dominic Thiem continued.
"I consider both as top stars. Ronaldo is slightly ahead, this is just gut feeling. His scoring numbers are out of this world. He scores from every possible position. (Messi is) Absolutely incredible, a magician! Too bad he plays for Barcelona!
The Catalans have the biggest rivalry with my "soccer-love "Chelsea," the defending Vienna Open champion replied. Federer’s situation now is an echo of 2016, when he took off the last six months of the year because of knee trouble and returned to competition the following January in Australia.
On that occasion he capped a remarkable return by winning two of the next three Grand Slam titles, at Melbourne and Wimbledon. By the following February, after winning his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, he had even recaptured top spot in the world rankings.