What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
Thiem has long been considered the successor to the "Big 3" of tennis - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. He has come close to breaking their stranglehold on the Grand Slams but has fallen at the final hurdle on three occasions.
Thiem lost two consecutive French Open finals to Nadal, in 2018 and 2019, and then the Australian Open final this year to Djokovic in 5 hard-fought sets.
The heart of the matter
Although Thiem has not been able to break the hegemony of the "Big 3" at the Grand Slam level, he has managed to move into the top 3 of the ATP rankings for the first time in his career, overtaking Federer.
Federer, who is currently out of action after undergoing knee surgery, missed the Dubai Tennis Championships and could not defend the 500 ATP points he had gained by winning the Dubai title last year. This helped Thiem leapfrog him and attain a career-high ATP ranking of 3.
With Federer likely to be out of action until the grass court season, Thiem will have an opportunity to consolidate his position. Federer is likely to drop even further down the rankings as he will not be able to defend his points at the upcoming ATP Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami.
As per the latest rankings released on Monday, Djokovic continues to rule the roost with 10,220 points followed by Nadal with 9,850 points. Thiem has 7,045 points in his kitty while Federer has 6,630 points.
Thiem will hope that attaining a career-high ranking will take his tennis to the next level. Having broken the dominance of the 'Big 3' in the ATP rankings, he would also hope to achieve his long-cherished dream of lifting a Grand Slam trophy.