World No. 3 Dominic Thiem says the absence of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the US Open is "not nice" but it's also "not a big deal." World No. 2 Nadal decided against playing at this year's US Open, while record 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer is recovering from a knee surgery.
"As I said, I mean, the absence of them is never nice. Because obviously, I mean, I can speak only about myself. I love to watch them, as well. Even if I'm player myself, I love to watch them, watch them compete," Thiem said of the Nadal and Federer absence.
"But I think it's not too big of a deal, because it's not the first time in a major that these two are not playing. And in a few years it's going to be every major without them, so I think it's not that big of a deal.
"There are still many, many super players around. So it doesn't really matter, as it's not the first match where they are not competing."
Thiem happy with his first round performance
Thiem was up 7-6 (6) 6-3 before Spanish tennis player Jaume Munar retired their first round match due to an injury.
"I was happy with the way I was fighting, because it wasn’t easy to play him,” Thiem said in an on-court interview, per the ATP website. “The courts are very different this year, the court seemed to be slow inside (on Louis Armstrong stadium).
It was a little bit windy, but we had some good rallies. I felt I was playing good. I played a good tie-break, which was pretty comfortable, then I’m sorry for what has happened”. Thiem plays next against Sumit Nagal, who Beat Bradley Klahn in his opener.
Last year, Nagal won the first set against Federer at the US Open before losing in four sets to the Swiss. "I saw his match last year against Roger first round here. I actually saw the full match. He was playing well. I just remember that he has an amazing forehand, like a really, really good one, and the rest I don't remember that much," Thiem said.
"So maybe I'll see some highlights of that match, some highlights of his match today. But it's the same like I said before my first round, that every single player here in this draw is amazing. Really, really good tennis players. "Well, it depends if I'm there 100%, and that's what I'll try to do again."