Dominic Thiem recently claimed that he considers Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to be amongst the greatest sportspersons of all time, given their dominance at the Grand Slams. Thiem also gave his thoughts on the recent Real Madrid vs Chelsea clash in the UEFA Champions League, revealing that he didn't enjoy the match due to the empty stands.
Dominic Thiem has been struggling mentally and physically ever since he won his first Major at the 2020 US Open. In that context, El Pais asked Thiem if he understands the difficulty of winning 20 Grand Slams - a feat achieved by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The World No. 4 responded by lauding Federer and Nadal, and also Djokovic, for their achievements. Dominic Thiem highlighted the fact that it is difficult to win one Grand Slam, let alone 20, which makes him believe that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic rank amongst the greatest athletes of all time.
"Of course (he realizes the difficulty of winning 20 Slams), but I knew before that it was a huge achievement to do what Rafa [Nadal], Roger [Federer] and Novak [Djokovic] do," Thiem said. "Even winning one is a very difficult thing that not many players achieve. Therefore, the three of them are three of the best athletes of all time."
Dominic Thiem is an ardent fan of London club Chelsea FC, and during the interview he was asked if he had been following football during the pandemic. But the Austrian replied that he has lost a bit of interest in the sport given that matches now take place in empty stadiums without any spectators.
Thiem cited the example of the Real Madrid vs Chelsea clash, explaining how the Santiago Bernabeu did not seem like its usual self in the absence of fans.
"I'm still passionate about it, but the truth is that I have lost a bit with the pandemic," Thiem said. "It is not fun at all to watch the games without an audience in the stadiums. In the first leg of the semifinals between Real Madrid and Chelsea...normally it would be a joy to see a game like this, with the crowd cheering, but this time they played at the Real Madrid B stadium or something like that. A small stadium, without an audience. It was no fun watching."
Dominic Thiem then went on to speak about Benoit Paire’s recent spree of controversies. Paire has been involved in several instances of unsportsmanlike conducts lately, including spitting and name calling, and Thiem claimed he didn't "understand" that behavior.
"No, I don't understand. If you don't want to play, you stay at home," Dominic Thiem said. "If you are not motivated, nobody forces you to play. I think what I did is better: I took some time, canceled my participation in three or four tournaments, and at some point the motivation returns."
It is likely that at 37 or 38 years old, I have already retired: Dominic Thiem
During the interview, Dominic Thiem was also asked where he sees himself 10 years from now. Thiem suggested that he will probably be retired by then, and added that he has no intention of playing until 40 like Roger Federer.
"It is likely that at 37 or 38 years old I have already retired," Thiem said. "It will be a new life, but I don't know what it will be like. No ( I do not wish to play till 40 like Federer)! [laughs]."
Dominic Thiem then gave his thoughts on the one-handed backhand, which is widely considered one of the most beautiful shots in tennis. Thiem, who himself plays with a one-handed backhand, expressed his delight that a few young players have kept the shot alive.
"It is very good that people like Stefanos, Shapovalov, Musetti appear," Thiem said. "The one-handed backhand must remain present."