Dominic Thiem believes he will have his work cut out for him on Tuesday, against World No. 2 Rafael Nadal. The winners of the last two Grand Slams will clash at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, in what is the second round-robin match for both.
Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal have met 14 times on the ATP tour, with the Spaniard holding a 9-5 edge over the Austrian. But it was Thiem who won their most recent encounter - the quarterfinals of the Australian Open - in four sets.
Thiem, who needed three sets to overcome defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match on Sunday, hopes he can put up a better performance on Tuesday against the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
"I am glad that I finished the match positively," said Thiem. "I hope that I can improve on Tuesday. Nadal is Nadal, he is the favorite at every tournament. I also think that he is fitter and better prepared than in recent years, simply because the season wasn't that long."
Super happy to watch Dominic Thiem win his first Grand Slam title: Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal on his part believes that Dominic Thiem is one of the hardest working players on the tour, and that he fully deserved to win his first Major at the US Open.
The Austrian had reached three Grand Slam finals before winning the US Open in September, beating Alexander Zverev in a see-saw five-set battle.
“[Thiem] is a great player. He's improving every year. He's a hard worker. Great guy, so I'm super happy for him to watch him win his first Grand Slam and he deserves it. He's one of the guys on the tour that really deserves the success because he's a very hard worker," Rafael Nadal commented.
Rafael Nadal, who defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets in his opener on Sunday, hopes that the day off on Monday will help him be ready for the battle against Thiem on Tuesday.
“For me, [it’s] going to be a tough one. Hopefully for him, too,” Nadal said. “I'm going to try to be ready for it. It’s going to be a big challenge, but I really hope the victory of today [will] help me for that match. And tomorrow I have a day off to practice, to keep working the way that I need, and I hope to be ready for it.”Published 16 Nov 2020, 20:06 IST