World No. 3 Dominic Thiem is widely considered to be the best player under 30 on the men's circuit right now. The Austrian has reached the last two Roland Garros finals, as well as the Australian Open final earlier this year.
Thiem recently launched his new website, where he spoke in detail about his relationship with Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer. The 27-year-old stated that Federer is an amusing person off the court, which is in contrast to his on-court persona.
Thiem also mentioned that Roger Federer loves to play pranks in the locker room and is very open about everything.
The two-time French Open runner-up also ranked Roger Federer as his favorite athlete of all time. Thiem gushed that the 20-time Grand Slam champion was an exceptional player who embodied the term 'superstar'.
Dominic Thiem recalls meeting Roger Federer at Wimbledon's Aorangi Park as a teenager
When asked about his experience of interacting with Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem recalled the day he met the Swiss 11 years ago at Wimbledon's Aorangi Park. The Austrian had a training session scheduled with Federer, and he talked in detail about how nervous he was before meeting his idol.
"As a 16-year-old junior, I was able to train with him for the first time at Wimbledon's Aorangi Park. In the beginning I was completely nervous, barely playing a ball over the net. After a few minutes, it was right again. Never in my life would I have thought that one day I would even beat Roger," said Dominic Thiem.
Dominic Thiem had a magnificent win-loss record of 115-33 in his junior career. He made it to his first ATP final in 2014 and then secured three titles in 2015. However, Thiem's first significant win on the main tour came in 2016, when he overcame a challenge from Roger Federer in Italy.
Federer had beaten Thiem at Brisbane earlier that year, but Thiem returned the favor in straight sets at the Rome Masters. The 27-year-old admitted that his rival was not fully fit in that quarterfinal match, but the win still meant a lot to him.
"To be fair, he was far from completely fit in this quarterfinal," Dominic Thiem continued. "He had back problems, as we have seen. Still, it was a special day for me! My biggest win against him was in the Indian Wells final. Federer's star potential is huge worldwide, and even more gigantic in the US. People like him everywhere!"
Dominic Thiem has clashed with Roger Federer seven times on the ATP Tour, and emerged victorious five times. Apart from Rome Masters 2016 and Indian Wells 2019, Thiem recorded a win over the 2012 Olympics silver medalist at the 2016 Stuttgart Open, the 2019 Madrid Open, and last year's ATP World Tour Finals.
Thiem has formed a good bond with the world's highest-paid athlete, and he described Roger Federer's off-court behavior in very complimentary words.
"Very, very funny and also completely relaxed," Thiem said about Federer. "In the locker room, in a really small circle, he's a very different person than on the court. Funny, open and he also loves little pranks."
Roger Federer has declared that he will not return to the court this year, meaning that Dominic Thiem will not be able to fight another battle against him until 2021.Published 03 Sep 2020, 23:15 IST