Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem thinks some players from the new generation may be bigger rivals to him than the Big Three. However, the third-ranked Austrian has nothing but great to say of the Big Three -- Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer -- as he doubts there will be a player who will achieve their level of success.
The Big Three have combined for a total of 55 Grand Slam titles, while the game still waits for a player from the young generation to win a Major title. The Big Three have been absolutely dominating the Grand Slams over the last few years as there hasn't been a Grand Slam champion outside the group since Stan Wawrinka won the US Open in 2016.
Thiem lost to world No. 2 Nadal in last two French Open finals, before he was beaten by world No. 1 Djokovic in this year's Australian Open final. "My biggest rivals are more of my generation than the Big Three. Maybe more Stefanos and Alexander Zverev.
I have played against Nadal, Federer and Djokovic many times. They are the best players in the world. I try to get to them. It is important to put pressure on them. They are so far above us in statistical terms that at that level we will never catch them.
I grew up watching them play and now I am facing them and defeating them. It's special," Thiem told ATP Radio, as revealed on Bola Amarela.
Dominic Thiem knew he would be a professional tennis player
The 26-year-old Austrian thinks he was destined to become a professional tennis player as he couldn't imagine himself doing anything else.
"There was never any doubt that I would be a tennis player. My two parents were tennis coaches and I used to go to the court with them when I was very young. I only had one choice. They had summer tennis camps in Vienna and it was very good for me.
I spent all my summer holidays with that dynamic. At first, things were quiet, but after 11 or 12 years old I became very professional. And in tennis I think it really has to be that way. I started to train every day and immediately think like a professional.
It was the only profession I imagined myself doing," Thiem said. Dominic Thiem has made himself a nice career but his big goal remains to win a maiden Grand Slam title.