By triumphing at the US Open last year, Dominic Thiem became the first player born in the 90s to put a Grand Slam on the board. The Austrian, who had already come very close to the Australian Open, took advantage of the absences of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and the sensational disqualification of Novak Djokovic to win the most important title of his entire career.
The world number 3 also came close to the coup at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, where only a wild Daniil Medvedev prevented him from lifting the trophy. Nicolas Massu's protege will certainly be one of the most anticipated men at Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open will begin on February 8.
Thiem had the privilege of quarantining in Adelaide, with less restrictive measures than players found in Melbourne hotels. In a recent interview with Tennisnet, his compatriot Jurij Rodionov explained how Dominic is now in the prime of his career at 27.
Current ATP # 144, who often works with Wolfgang Thiem, believes the Big 3 will need to be careful in the Grand Slams.
Rodionov on Dominic Thiem
“Dominic Thiem is now always a potential candidate for a Grand Slam title because he is extremely fit, has an incredible game, and has been very consistent over the past year or two - he really manages to bring his best tennis to the court week after week,” Jurij Rodionov said.
Moving on to some of Thiem’s more illustrious rivals, Jurij Rodionov opined that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have done a terrific job of maintaining their high standards despite being well into their 30s.
“One always has the feeling that the older the ‘Big 3’ get, the greater the chances for the youngsters,” Rodionov continued. “But the old hands are still doing very well for their age. Federer is 39, Nadal is 34, Djokovic 33 - that's really amazing what the guys at the top of the world are doing”.
According to Rodionov, Medvedev boasts of an unconventional but effective style of play that can upset the rhythm of any player facing him. “I find his game very unorthodox and very uncomfortable - he just has hits that you can't read, where you feel very uncomfortable as an opponent,” the Austrian said.
“The two have a very good chance of winning a Grand Slam tournament”. The Russian will undoubtedly be keen on improving his record on that front in the upcoming season, beginning with the Australian Open.