Dominic Thiem believes Novak Djokovic is the most mentally strong player in the history of tennis. In a recent upload on his new website, the Austrian star cited Djokovic's professionalism, dedication and focus as the reasons behind his incredible success on the court.
Dominic Thiem also picked Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as two of the five greatest athletes ever. But when asked who could challenge the legendary duo's status in the future, the 2020 US Open winner replied:
"Novak Djokovic! We have had a couple of great fights. He is probably the best player of all time mentally. He is extremely professional, always focused one hundred percent. Novak took the issue of nutrition in tennis onto a higher level."
While Dominic Thiem has taken giant strides over the last few years, he doesn't think he is anywhere near the three legends of the current era. The 27-year-old joked that he would have to win at least 15-20 Grand Slam titles more to bracket himself among the greatest athletes of all time.
"That is a huge challenge; I'm lacking about 15 to 20 Grand Slam titles," said Dominic Thiem.
The Wiener Neustadt-born star also spoke about who he thought were the greatest women's tennis players of all time. He specifically mentioned Serena Williams and Steffi Graf as the two female players who had carved out a special place for themselves in tennis history.
"There are two names I consider the best of the best. Steffi Graf and Serena Williams, those two left their marks on the sport," Dominic Thiem said.
Novak Djokovic's mental strength has been on show in 2020 - even against Dominic Thiem himself
Dominic Thiem's words of praise for Novak Djokovic's mental strength are not unfounded. The World No. 1 has cemented his status as one of the best tennis players of all time, and his ability to lift his level when it matters most has contributed greatly to that.
The Belgrade-based superstar had not lost a single match on tour this year until the US Open. His run of wins included a five-set victory over Dominic Thiem himself, in the Australian Open final.
Djokovic had gone down two sets to one in that match, but with his back against the wall he brought out his best tennis to ultimately outlast the Austrian.
Novak Djokovic has actually locked horns against Dominic Thiem 11 times, with the Austrian winning only four of those matches. Djokovic didn't allow Thiem a single set in their first three meetings, but the two-time French Open runner-up has won three of his last five battles against the 2019 Wimbledon champion.
Novak Djokovic is still 33 and has a lot of tennis left in him. Given that he needs only four Grand Slam titles to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time list, many fans expect him to finish his career as the 'Greatest of all time' or 'GOAT'.
If he continues to be as clutch as he was in the Wimbledon 2019 final, then it's likely that both the GOAT predictions and Dominic Thiem's proclamation about his mental strength will end up standing the test of time.Published 30 Oct 2020, 02:09 IST