US Open 2020: Thiem fulfills dream with maiden grand slam title

By Sports Desk September 13, 2020

Dominic Thiem described his US Open success as a dream come true after rallying from two sets down to claim his first grand slam crown in New York.

After three runners-up appearances in major finals, second seed Thiem finally broke through by outlasting Alexander Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

The Austrian, who overcame a slow start, became the first player to rally from two sets down to win a US Open final in the Open Era, and first since 1949.

Thiem is also the first man born in the 1990s to win a grand slam after prevailing in more than four hours in a rollercoaster final on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"Definitely I achieved a life goal, a dream of myself, which I had for many, many years," Thiem told reporters after his memorable comeback against the fifth-seeded German. "Of course, as a kid, as well, when I started to play tennis. But back then it's so far away.

"Then I got closer and closer to the top. At one point I realised that, wow, maybe one day I can really win one of the four biggest titles in tennis.

"I put a lot of work in. I mean, I dedicated basically my whole life until this point to win one of the four majors. Now I did it. That's also for myself a great accomplishment.

"I mean, it's by far not only myself, it's an accomplishment from all my team, from all my family. I guess also today is the day where I gave back huge amount of what they did for me."

Thiem lost a thrilling Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic earlier this year, having fallen short in the 2018 and 2019 French Open deciders to Rafael Nadal.

"When I first realised that maybe one day I could really win a major was when I first broke into the semis of Roland Garros, when I broke into top 10," said the 27-year-old Thiem, who never gave up hope against Zverev. "From that moment on I dreamed about it. I thought that it's maybe realistic.

"Back then I thought my biggest chances by far are on clay. But then the end of last year somehow changed a lot of things when I won Beijing, when I won Vienna, when I played the great Nitto ATP Finals. Then I realised that my game is suiting the hard courts really well.

"Of course, since I'm working with Nico [Massu], we improved my game on hard court a lot. Also changed my mind that many shots are working great on that surface. So I think my best major until now US Open, I played in Australia. Now it's not for me that big surprise anymore that it's not the French. At the end it doesn't matter to me. Main thing is that I have one of these four now."

As Thiem basks in his first major triumph, attention quickly turns to the upcoming French Open in Paris.

The rescheduled French Open is due to get underway on September 27 at Roland Garros amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked about the transition from hard to clay courts, two-time French Open runner-up Thiem said: "I think physically I'm going to be fine, 100 per cent. I'm going to have enough time to recover from all the troubles I had.

"But the question is how I'm going to do it with the emotions mentally. Obviously, I've never been in this situation. I achieved a big, big goal. Well, I don't know how I'm going to feel the next days.

"At the same time it's going to be or I expect that it's going to be easier for me now in the biggest tournaments because I had it in the back of my head that I had a great career so far, way better career than I could ever dreamt of, but until today there was still a big part, a big goal missing.

"With this goal achieved, I think and I hope that I'm going to be a little bit more relaxed and play a little bit more freely at the biggest events."

Related items

  • Tiley confident Australian Open plans close to being finalised amid cancellation reports Tiley confident Australian Open plans close to being finalised amid cancellation reports

    Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is confident plans for next year's event will be finalised "very soon".

    Uncertainty remains over the scheduled first grand slam of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The start of the Australian Open looks set to be pushed back by a week or two, having originally been scheduled to begin on January 18, amid questions about the players' travel and preparation.

    In a statement, Tiley said details were close to being finalised, with reports on Tuesday having said the event could be cancelled.

    "Tennis Australia continues to work closely and productively with the Victorian government and we are confident we will be in a position to finalise details for the Australian Open 2021 very soon," he said.

    "We are also in constant communication with the global tennis community, including the Tours, the players and their teams, as we consult with them on plans for the event and how players can safely practise and prepare for a grand slam tournament under the Victorian government's proposed quarantine conditions.

    "Understandably there has been public speculation on the various plans under consideration as well as the many confidential conversations that have taken place and our position remains clear – everything will require approval and agreement from the Victorian government before it can be confirmed.

    "The protection and safety of the community remains paramount in the discussions.

    "Our team continues to work on delivering a fantastic – and safe – AO 2021 for the players, the fans, our partners and our staff. We look forward to announcing more details, including when tickets will go on sale, very soon."

    Victoria has been without a new coronavirus case since October 30.

    The Australian Open has started in January in every year since 1987, but Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said last week next year's tournament was likely to be delayed by a week or two.

  • Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics Del Potro admits to struggles in return bid, eyes Olympics

    Juan Martin del Potro admitted he was struggling in his bid to return from knee surgery as he eyes next year's Olympics.

    Del Potro, 32, last played competitively 17 months ago and underwent a third right knee surgery in August.

    The 2009 US Open champion is still hoping to return, but admitted it had been challenging.

    "I am having a hard time coming back. I still stand by the desire that I have to continue playing," Del Potro told ESPN on Friday.

    "The reality is that it is difficult. I'm going to keep fighting as long as I feel like I want to continue."

    He added: "Due to the pandemic, the Olympics Games are next year and I'm excited to be there.

    "If I have to close my career, I think it would be to give myself an award to represent my country."

    A bronze medallist in men's singles at the 2012 Olympics, Del Potro won silver in Rio four years later, and said he hoped to retire on the court.

    The Argentinian also took time to remember the great Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday.

    Del Potro recalled his meetings with Maradona during the 2016 Davis Cup final, which he helped Argentina win against Croatia in Zagreb.

    "In that Davis Cup final, every night, on my own without anyone knowing, I saw him 10, 15 minutes before going to sleep," he said.

    "He did it in private so that he doesn't disarm the team's structure."

    Del Potro added: "He sent me a very nice message after winning and I gave him my racquet."

  • Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two Australian Open likely to be delayed, but only by a week or two

    The 2021 Australian Open is likely to be pushed back, but only for a week or two.

    Uncertainty has surrounded the scheduled first grand slam of next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Reports had suggested the Australian Open could start in March or April, instead of its scheduled January 18 beginning.

    But Victorian minister for tourism, sport and major events Martin Pakula said on Wednesday a delay of a week or two was looking likely.

    "I think that's most likely, but it's not the only option," he told reporters, via the ABC.

    This year's Wimbledon was cancelled and the US Open was played behind closed doors, while the French Open was delayed before allowing a limited number of spectators.

    Victoria on Wednesday recorded its 26th consecutive day without a new coronavirus case.

    Pakula confirmed players would be tested and contained in a bubble during the Australian Open.

    "It's fair to say that Tennis Australia and the playing group have been encouraged to keep the total number of people coming in, not necessarily to a minimum, but to a lower number than would otherwise be the case," he said.

    "People need to bear in mind that there will be an extremely rigorous testing regime that will apply to the tennis players both before they leave the port that they're coming from and when they arrive, and I would imagine consistently during the time that they're in their bubble."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.