Dominic Thiem finally broke through to win his maiden Grand Slam at the 2020 US Open, after a dramatic five-set final against first-time finalist Alexander Zverev. Now that Thiem has finally announced himself at the top-most level of the sport, he will arrive at Roland Garros with less pressure.
Dominic Thiem will have his sights set on further Grand Slam glory in Paris, having lost in the finals of the 2018 and 2019 editions of the tournament. Many tennis pundits are expecting big things from the 27-year-old at the French Open, and a few have even named him as the second favorite to win the Major event (after 12-time champion Rafael Nadal).
But Thiem himself is being more guarded about his chances. The newly-crowned Slam champion recently spoke to the Red Bull Content Pool team about his mindset after winning the US Open, and his aspirations for the French Open.
When asked how he felt about leading the new brigade that is challenging the 'Big 3', Dominic Thiem gave a characteristically modest answer. He claimed that his Major triumph did not mean the end of the dominance of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
"Being the first ‘new’ Grand Slam winner in what seems like an eternity feels really good. However, I will not claim to have ended their dominance," Thiem said.
"Novak, Rafa and Roger remain favourites in every tournament they compete in. Even next week, when the French Open starts in Paris, Nadal and Djokovic are the ones to beat," Thiem added.
I believed that my first Grand Slam victory could happen at US Open throughout the tournament: Dominic Thiem
Two weeks ago, Dominic Thiem became the first non-Big 3 player since Stan Wawrinka in 2016 to clinch a Grand Slam trophy. With the monkey off his back now, Thiem looked back at the pressure that he felt throughout his campaign at the Flushing Meadows.
"The faith that I could win a Grand Slam tournament was something I had long before the US Open. That is why I put myself under so much pressure. Moreover, I harbored the belief that my first Grand Slam victory could happen at this particular US Open throughout the tournament," Thiem said.
"Naturally, the circumstances changed when Novak Djokovic was eliminated from the tournament. From that moment on, it was crystal clear… there will be a new winner," he added.
Dominic Thiem also revealed the jitters he felt during his final against Alexander Zverev. The Austrian had fallen behind two sets to love and was clearly under a lot of pressure, but in the end he prevailed in a titanic battle of nerves.
When asked what his next goal was, Dominic Thiem gave the obvious answer. With the French Open scheduled to kick off from 27 September, the Austrian will be looking to tick another Major off his list.
"It may even be to my advantage that the next Grand Slam takes place so soon after the US Open. Now that I have won a Grand Slam final, I can finally tick off another one of the aspirations of my career," Thiem said.
"I am fully focused on my clay game and the French Open. My goal is to start the first round of the tournament 100% fresh," he added.Published 24 Sep 2020, 14:57 IST