Dominic Thiem recently spoke to the media ahead of the start of the 2021 Dubai Tennis Championships. Thiem touched upon several topics, including the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal at the French Open, and also explained why he thinks his US Open triumph deserves full credit.
Dominic Thiem has faced Rafael Nadal 15 times in his career, winning on six occasions. However, the Austrian has never been able to get the better of Nadal at Roland Garros.
In their four meetings in Paris, Dominic Thiem has won a grand total of one set. In his Dubai press conference Thiem talked at length about the challenge of beating Nadal, calling it "one of the most difficult things to do in tennis".
According to Dominic Thiem, even if you are absolutely flawless against Rafael Nadal at the French Open, you still need to hope that the Spaniard lowers his level.
"I mean, it's just one of the most difficult things to do in tennis; in sports in general," Thiem said about beating Nadal at the French Open. "So I think everything needs to be perfect on that one day. And I think the only way is to improve in general to work to improve all aspects of the game."
"To play the perfect claycourt tennis, now that's the only chance," the Austrian added. "But even then, I think it's it's not in my hands; it's still in his, (so we have) to hope that he has not the best day. So I think there's so many things which need to work to have a chance there."
To stress his point, Dominic Thiem brought up the pre-'Big 3' era and questioned if tournaments won by players before the mid-2000s had any less weight than they do now.
"Nobody knows if I would have won it but well, I have the title that's all what counts," Thiem said. "And also of course, Big 3 are Big 3. But I mean, there was also a time before them; nobody asks if a Grand Slam title back then was worth less or more or the same as it is now."
"No I mean, a Grand Slam title is worth all the time the same, and there's just no need to to think about it," he added. "Because, well, my name is there on the trophy and it always will be and doesn't really matter who I was beating there or who was there or whatever."
My foot injury gets a little bit worse on hardcourt: Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem’s foot has been a real source of trouble for the 27-year-old in the last few months. There have been instances when Thiem had to pull out of tournaments (Paris Masters), and times when he was unable to play at his best (against Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open).
When Dominic Thiem was asked if his injury gets aggravated when playing on hardcourts, the Austrian answered in the affirmative. Thiem then described the extent of his injury, revealing that it is a condition that has been plaguing him since a very young age.
"Yeah, of course, I mean, on hardcourt, it's a little bit worse, as, on clay," Thiem stated. "I can slide it out. And it's, it's a way softer surface. But I mean, I'm, I have a little bit of pain there since many, many years, actually, since a very young age. And that's why it's not bothering me too much."
"Sometimes it's worse, sometimes it's better," the Austrian added. "But as of now, it's doesn't look like it's gonna be a bigger issue. And I hope it's gonna stay like that."