Dominic Thiem went close to his first Slam title at the Australian Open, but was defeated by Novak Djokovic after an amazing battle. The Austrian, who played his third Major final, had lost to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019.
Toni Nadal, Rafa's uncle and former coach, analyzed the Melbourne final to El Pais. “On this occasion, Dominic was very close to getting it,” Toni said. “But he made, in my view, an unforgivable mistake against a player of the magnitude of Novak Djokovic – he lowered his intensity in the fourth set for the benefit of the Serbian.
After the first set in which Djokovic was superior, Dominic won the next two sets to go ahead in the scoreboard with a very clear strategy – keep a very high pace in the rallies and try at all times to be the one to dictate the match.
He did it to such an extent that in the third set we saw an anomalously crestfallen Djokovic in this tournament and led to some moments to despair. When it seemed that the strategy was clear and successful, and that it was paying off, he was not able to maintain it and we saw a fourth set in which Thiem began to cut his back and stop squeezing the Serbian.
He lowered his level of aggressiveness and ceased to be the one who set the pace of the encounter. And, of course, giving Novak the opportunity meant allowing him to recover and thereby signing his own sentence. Although in the fifth set we saw a new attempt by the Austrian, my feeling at that moment was that it was already too late and the beast had risen.
This mistake will haunt Dominic for a few weeks, preventing him from enjoying the great tournament he has played."