World No. 4 Dominic Thiem has confirmed that he will take part in an exhibition match against Andrey Rublev in Mexico City later this year. In the video conference where he made the announcement, Thiem showered lavished praise on Rublev and expressed his delight at playing in Mexico's capital after almost a decade.
The match is scheduled to take place on 16 September 2021 at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. The date coincides with Mexico’s Independence Day, and the showdown between Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will be a fitting way to mark the occasion.
While speaking about the match-up between him and Rublev, Thiem highlighted the Russian's superiority in their head-to-head record. The Austrian joked that he hopes to exact 'revenge' on Rublev in the exhibition match, in case he is unable to do that on the tour.
"He's one of the best players on the tour," Thiem said. "He's had an impressive streak and I've lost the last three matches we played. If I don't get my revenge on tour, I hope it'll happen in Mexico."
Dominic Thiem trails Andrey Rublev 2-3 in the head-to-head. The Austrian was 2-0 up until 2019, after which Rublev defeated him three times in a row - and that too without dropping a set.
The match between Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will be played at a height of around 2,250 metres above sea level, given that Mexico City is one of the most elevated cities in North America.
Always a pleasure to play for Mexicans: Dominic Thiem
During the video chat, Dominic Thiem claimed that he is 'happy' to return to Mexico after having last toured the country in 2018 (when he took part in the Mexican Open at Acapulco). However, this would be Thiem’s first visit to Mexico's capital city in more than a decade.
"I have heard some great things, and I am happy to return to Mexico," Thiem said. "The last time was in Acapulco 2018, and it has been around for a long time. I was in Mexico City for the last time in 2010, 11 years ago, so I was already looking to return soon."
Dominic Thiem also spoke in glowing terms about the love that Mexicans have for tennis. According to the Austrian, Roger Federer taking on Alexander Zverev for an exhibition match in Mexico City a couple of years ago made for an 'incredible' moment.
"I like travelling to Mexico since my junior days," Thiem said. "I went to Acapulco four times, people love tennis there, and it was incredible when Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev played in 2019. The Mexicans know a lot about tennis and love tennis, and it's a pleasure to play for them."