Playing in his 16th US Open, Novak Djokovic came agonizingly close to capturing an elusive Calendar Slam. The Serb's hopes of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Majors in the same year were ended by Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.
Medvedev produced an incredible display to deny the World No. 1 a fourth crown at Flushing Meadows. The Russian claimed a resounding 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win against a visibly distraught Djokovic to lift his maiden Grand Slam title.
In the wake of his defeat, Djokovic received plenty of support from the tennis fraternity, including 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem.
Speaking to Stats Perform in a recent interview, Thiem said that Djokovic had been under immense pressure ever since winning Roland Garros. According to the Austrian, the weight of expectations finally got to Djokovic in the US Open final.
"I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam," Thiem said. "He was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam. And at some points it's just getting to you."
Thiem, who has been sidelined from the tour because of a wrist injury, said that he could empathize with Djokovic as he too had faced similar pressure on many occasions in the past.
Thiem, however, asserted his faith in the World No. 1's ability to bounce back and be "even stronger" for the 2022 season.
"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches," Theim continued. "And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match."
"It can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore," he added.
"For me, there are three GOATs" - Dominic Thiem on Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
During the conversation with Stats Perform, Thiem also weighed in on the never-ending GOAT debate involving Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Austrian refused to single out a particular name, pointing out instead that each of the trio had a claim to the GOAT title.
Thiem also expressed his satisfaction at being part of the same era as the Big 3.
"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said. "So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me."
"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again," he added.