Dominic Thiem got his Nitto ATP Finals campaign off to a flying start, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal in his first two matches. That meant his final round-robin game against Andrey Rublev on Thursday was a dead rubber; the Austrian had already qualified for the semis as the group topper by then.
Even though Dominic Thiem ended up losing to the Russian rather timidly, many - including Andrey Rublev - believe he is playing well enough to lift the trophy on Sunday. However, Thiem himself doesn't see things the same way.
Speaking to the press after his defeat to Rublev, the World No. 3 explained why he wasn't the favorite for the title - and why none of the participants could be said to be higher than the others.
“I don't feel like a favorite at all, really,” Thiem said. “I think that almost all the games here in the Finals are quite open. The player who has a better day, the one who plays better at that moment ends up winning and this will be what happen in both semifinals. I guess there are no clear favorites this year.”
In the semis, Dominic Thiem is slated to face the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.
If there is no tournament before the Australian Open, we will have to live with it: Dominic Thiem
It has recently been suggested by sources close to the Australian Open that the players will not be allowed to arrive in Melbourne before Christmas. That, coupled with the mandatory 14-day quarantine required by the Australian government, has put all the lead-up events in serious doubt.
But Thiem pointed out that such a scenario wouldn't exactly be new for him and a few others, given that they experienced something similar before the US Open. Thiem had virtually no preparation for the New York Slam since he lost his very first match at the preceding Cincinnati Masters.
"If that happens, that the Australian Open is the first tournament, then it will be similar to the US Open," Dominic Thiem said. "There was Cincinnati, but, well, for me personally, it wasn't a great workout as I lost the first round."
The Austrian stressed that he wouldn't be losing any sleep over the lack of tune-up events, and added that he would be content as long as the Grand Slam itself took place.
"In general, I hope that the Australian Open will be held and if there is no tournament before we will have to live with it, try to go early and prepare as best as possible," Thiem said. "Everyone hopes that it can be celebrated and that we can all travel to Australia."Published 20 Nov 2020, 17:50 IST