The ATP Finals did not end in the best way for Dominic Thiem, who surrendered in the final to Daniil Medvedev with the result of 6-4 6-7 4-6 on Sunday at the O2 Arena in London. After the defeat, the Austrian spoke to the media about his season, how he has handled the pressure in recent months and the attempt to subvert the dominance of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The Big 3 have monopolized men's tennis for the past decade and a half, but the world number 3 believes that fans need credible alternatives after their retirement. In 2020 we saw the triumphs of Nadal and Djokovic respectively at Roland Garros and the Australian Open, while Thiem became the first player born in the 90s to win a Grand Slam by winning the US Open.
At the press conference, Nicolas Massu's protégé took stock of the situation before pulling the plug.
Thiem on Federer, Nadal and Djokovic
"I think it's super important for the sport because Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and even Andy Murray did so much for tennis," said Dominic Thiem.
"I think they brought so many people, and so many new fans to tennis. And as I said, there will come a time when they are not around anymore and we have to keep all the tennis fans." The 27-year-old, who recently won his first Grand Slam title at the 2020 US Open, believes that the onus of keeping tennis fans engaged is on younger players like himself and Daniil Medvedev.
"I think that is the challenge. That we perform well, play great in the big tournaments, and become huge stars ourselves. It's super important for tennis in general, because they did so much for our sport. And as I said, our challenge is to is to keep all those people with tennis and continue their story," Thiem added.
Roger Federer is often regarded as the best when it comes to competing at Wimbledon or grass courts in general. However, he is equally dangerous when it comes to hard courts. The reaction time is shorter and that’s why Federer is a fan of these surfaces.
Federer has won the Australian Open six times so far with the most recent one coming in 2018. If he can win it at 37, he can undoubtedly do it at 39. His former rival Andy Roddick also confirmed that the Swiss superstar likes fast-moving surfaces.
Thiem had fallen just short at the Nitto ATP Finals last year as well, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the summit clash. In addition to reaching two consecutive finals at the season-ending event, the Austrian has also reached four Slam finals over the past three years (winning one).