US Open champion and World No. 3 Dominic Thiem is grateful to have the chance to play in front of fans at the ATP Erste Bank Open in Vienna, since he fears events in the immediate future won't allow spectators.
The 27-year-old Thiem is through to the quarterfinals of Vienna after beating Cristian Garin in straight sets on Thursday.
As per reports, up to 1,000 spectators are still allowed in the Stadthalle Arena. But the presence of fans has been varying considerably across tournaments on the ATP Tour.
The other ATP event in Kazakhstan this week is being held without fans, and next week's Paris Masters will be played behind closed doors too. Initial plans to have fans at Bercy were cancelled after the imposition of a new national lockdown.
"I'm enjoying it very much, it's really nice," Thiem said. "There were spectators in Paris (French Open), but the atmosphere wasn't so good because it is an open-air tournament."
Dominic Thiem went on to heap gratitude on the fans who have come to the stadium, especially with the new restrictions being imposed.
"One can only be very grateful for every single one who comes to the town hall. Of course, it is certainly not as nice an experience for the audience as in the other years when everything is normal. If you have to wear the mask all the time, have to sit, eat nothing, can't drink anything. It's really very special for us that people come anyway," Thiem added.
With the number of coronavirus cases rising across Europe, Dominic Thiem also spoke about the possibility of new measures being imposed in Austria that would prevent other events from having fans.
"It can of course happen that it might be the last event for some time with spectators, which is very sad," Thiem said. "That's why I try to enjoy every second."
Winning a title at home or a Major like the US Open helps you get through the difficult moments: Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem also spoke about the ups and downs every player experiences on the tour, emphasizing that it is not always smooth sailing.
"Not everything is always super-great by a long shot. There are actually a lot of days, moments and weeks when everything goes wrong," Thiem admitted. "When you win at home or when you achieve such big goals as at the US Open, the joy and satisfaction is so great that you just take on the difficult things. Of course there is a certain dullness there, I think it is the same with everyone."
Dominic Thiem will play fifth seed Andrey Rublev of Russia in the quarterfinals on Friday, with the winner playing either Daniil Medvedev or Kevin Anderson.Published 30 Oct 2020, 15:25 IST