Dominic Thiem was touted by many to win his first Grand Slam title in 2020. And with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal withdrawing from the US Open this year, the prevailing thought was that Thiem's best opportunity would be at Flushing Meadows.
Then, without warning, Thiem suffered an embarrassing loss to Filip Krajinovic in his first match at the Cincinnati Masters last week. The Austrian lost 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour, throwing his chances of going deep at the US Open in doubt.
Dominic Thiem's manager Herwig Straka, however, remains upbeat about the World No. 3's potential at the hardcourt Slam. Straka believes Thiem can make good use of the draw that he's been handed if he takes it one match at a time.
Dominic Thiem has to play his way into the US Open: Herwig Straka
"If you can see who was not seeded in the first round, it's not a bad draw," said Straka. "He (Dominic Thiem) still has to play his way into the tournament once, and the first rounds remain the toughest in a Grand Slam. No matter who he plays against."
Dominic Thiem comes into the US Open on the back of runner-up finishes at both the Nitto ATP Finals and the 2020 Australian Open. Seeded second at Flushing Meadows, the Austrian has a potential third round match with Marin Cilic, and could face one of Andy Murray, Felix Auger-Aliassime or Dan Evans after that.
The Austrian might then run into Roberto Bautista Agut or Milos Raonic in the quarterfinal, and potentially Daniil Medvedev or Matteo Berrettini in the semifinal. Novak Djokovic, who is the overwhelming favorite to win the title, could possibly await in the final.
Straka asserted that even though the performance against Krajinovic was poor, it was nothing that Dominic Thiem couldn't shake off ahead of an important Grand Slam event. While acknowledging that his client could possibly play two former US Open champions (Marin Cilic and Andy Murray), Straka cautioned against taking the early rounds for granted.
"You shouldn't look that far ahead in the grid and just wait for the first game," Straka said.
Straka then went on to speak about Thiem's first round match against Spaniard Jaume Munar.
"It's a good game to get in, also in terms of the style of play," Straka said.Published 28 Aug 2020, 21:15 IST