Novak Djokovic believes Rafael Nadal is still the favourite to win the French Open despite his quarter-final exit at the Internazionali d'Italia.

Djokovic continued his stellar year by claiming the title in Rome thanks to a 7-5 6-3 win over Diego Schwartzman in the final on Monday.

The Serbian won his 36th ATP 1000 title, moving him ahead of Nadal into the outright lead, in the ideal preparation for the French Open starting on Sunday.

While Nadal was beaten by Schwartzman in the last eight in Rome, Djokovic said the 12-time French Open champion still deserved favouritism at Roland Garros.

"It's Nadal. Even though he lost this week I still think, and a lot of people will agree, he is the number one favourite," Djokovic told a news conference.

"The record that he has there, the history of his results, you just can't put anyone in front of him. But Diego showed Nadal is beatable on clay.

"The conditions that they played on, heavy clay, not much bounce, humid, night session, we are going to have that as well in Paris. Night session, under the lights, a little bit less bounce, I am pretty sure he does not prefer that to high bounce. I know he likes the high bounce, he likes hot and fast and warm conditions where he can use his spin a lot.

"Let's see. It's going to be interesting. Even though he's the number one favourite there are players who can win against him there.

"It's obviously best of five. You've got to be really fit to be able to achieve that."

A 17-time grand slam champion, Djokovic won the French Open in 2016, while he has lost three finals at the tournament, including two to Nadal.

But with the event rescheduled from a May start to September, Djokovic hopes the cooler weather will suit him in Paris.

"I cannot hope for Rafa not being in the final. I can hope for myself being in the finals and fighting for the trophy," he said.

"That's probably the player who has the highest chance of being in a final in the French Open and any tournament for that matter. If there is one tournament, that is Roland Garros and that's Rafa that you would bet on. But conditions will be different.

"I think I experienced something that might be the case in terms of conditions in Paris. Little bit of rain, wet court, clay, not much of a bounce, a bit cold. That's what I think people have been talking about from the Paris weather standpoint. I'm fine with those conditions."

US Open champion Naomi Osaka will miss the French Open due to a hamstring injury.

The Japanese star claimed her third grand slam title with a win over Victoria Azarenka in the final in New York on Saturday.

Osaka had her left leg heavily strapped during the tournament and the 22-year-old confirmed she would miss the French Open, with the main draw due to start on September 27.

"Hey guys, first and foremost thank [sic] so much for all the support over the last three weeks. I couldn't have done it without you!" she posted on Twitter.

"Unfortunately I won't be able to play the French Open this year. My hamstring is still sore so I wouldn't have enough time to prepare for the clay – these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this time. I wish the organisers and players all the best."

Osaka's best result at Roland Garros has been reaching the third round three times, including in 2019.

Only 5,000 fans per day will be allowed in at the French Open amid a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.

Main-draw matches are scheduled to begin at Roland Garros on September 27 after the grand slam was moved due to COVID-19.

It was announced earlier this month that 11,500 spectators would be allowed in per day, although several players raised concerns after the US Open was held behind closed doors.

France reported 10,593 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday before a reduced capacity for Roland Garros was announced.

"The FFT [French Tennis Federation] will therefore assume the responsibility of organising the tournament with a new lay out," a statement read.

"It is important for the sporting, social and economic life of the country that a major event like Roland Garros can be put on while respecting health imperatives.

"Such will be the case for the 2020 tournament.

"The FFT is conscious of how disappointing this news will be for those who will not be able to come to the stadium due to the reduction in capacity. We would like to thank you for your understanding and your dogged support of the tournament.

"Roland Garros 2020 will set an example by endorsing, promoting and defending its cherished sporting values."

Rafael Nadal said Dominic Thiem deserved to win the US Open title in New York.

Thiem claimed his maiden major title with a dramatic five-set victory over Alexander Zverev in the final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

The Austrian finally broke through after losing three grand slam finals, including two to Nadal at the French Open.

Nadal praised Thiem for his success, which came with the Spaniard and Roger Federer not in the draw and with Novak Djokovic having defaulted in the fourth round.

"I'm happy for Dominic. If somebody deserved to win a big title it's him," he said. 

"A super hard worker, very focused on his goals, a good person, a good human being. He deserved it.

"Sorry to Sascha [Zverev], he was close but in some ways I think even though Sascha played a great final, I think the road to the final from Dominic had been a little bit more solid.

"So in some ways he deserved the title and Sascha will have more chances in the future. But after a lot of years of hard work, I think Dominic deserved it. I'm happy for him."

Nadal is set to face Pablo Carreno Busta at the Internazionali d'Italia in his first match since the ATP Tour season resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Murray and Eugenie Bouchard have been handed wildcards for the singles draws at the French Open.

Former world number one Murray made his grand slam return at the US Open earlier this month, defeating Yoshihito Nishioka before losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

Murray, 33, was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2016 and reached the semi-finals for four consecutive years between 2014 and 2017.

He is currently ranked 110th in the world after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery last year.

Bouchard enjoyed a restorative run to the final of the Istanbul Open last week, where the 2014 Wimbledon finalist was beaten by Patricia Maria Tig despite taking the first set.

Tsvetana Pironkova has also been awarded a spot in the women's draw after her surprise run to the US Open quarters.

Murray, Bouchard and Pironkova are the only non-French players to receive the 16 wildcards on offer across the two singles draws.

Novak Djokovic says he will never forget being defaulted at the US Open but admits he cannot promise he will not misbehave on court again.

The world number one was disqualified from his last-16 match against Pablo Carreno Busta after striking a linesperson with the ball.

The Serbian, who said he was "extremely sorry" for his actions, was left feeling "sad and empty" over the incident, which saw him take a ball from his pocket and hit it behind him after dropping serve.

The 33-year-old is back in action this week at the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome, where he will start against either Tennys Sandgren or Salvatore Caruso after being given a bye in the first round.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Djokovic said: "Of course, it was a shock to finish the US Open the way it was finished. It was the first time in my career that something like this happens.

"Of course, it could have happened earlier in my career, you know, could have happened to many players.

"The ball hits a line judge, it was just unfortunate that I hit the line umpire in a very awkward place. There was a lot of speculation and discussions whether it was deserved or not, I accepted it and I moved on.

"I cannot promise or cannot guarantee that I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life. I'm going to try my best, obviously, but anything is possible in life.

"I accepted it, I had to move on and that's what I did. Of course, I did not forget about it, I don't think I will ever forget about it, these things stay in your memory for the rest of your life, but I don't think I will have any major issues coming back to the tour and being able to perform well and hit the tennis ball during the point.

"I checked on [the line judge] after the match, she said that she was fine, that there were no injuries. I felt really sorry to cause the shock and drama to her, she didn't deserve that in any way, she's obviously volunteering as well, she loves tennis and has been there for quite a few years.

"It's unfortunate for both of us to experience that. It was very awkward and disappointing for me to finish off the US Open that way because I felt very good about myself, my game, I had won the Western and Southern Open.

"I came into the fourth round feeling really good and hitting the ball really nicely, and ready in every aspect. It was very unexpected and very unintended as well, to hit her.

"But when you hit the ball like that as I hit it to have a chance to hit someone who is on the court and the rules are clear when it comes to that."

Djokovic, who was unbeaten in 2020 prior to the US Open, has won the Internazionali d'Italia on four occasions, the last of which came in 2015.

Alexander Zverev lamented missed chances after coming "super close" to being a grand slam champion in a loss to Dominic Thiem.

Zverev fell short in a dramatic US Open final on Sunday, losing 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) to Thiem on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Playing his first major final, Zverev was also up a break in the third set and led 5-3 in the fifth before losing.

Zverev was disappointed to let the opportunities slip away in the decider.

"I was super close to being a grand slam champion. I was a few games away, maybe a few points away," he told a news conference.

"For me what upset me the most is not the third set or something like that, it's the fifth set. I had a lot of chances in the fifth set and didn't use them.

"I'm 23 years old. I don't think it's my last chance. I do believe that I will be a grand slam champion at some point."

Zverev served 15 double faults in his defeat, having made the better start before Thiem responded.

He said it was difficult to accept his loss after being in such a promising position.  

"Obviously being two sets to love and a break up in a grand slam final then losing is not easy," Zverev said.

"Yeah, I mean, the match turned when he broke me I think for the first time in the third set.

"I think he started playing much better and I started playing much worse. That's when the match turned. But I still had plenty of chances after that." 

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."

Dominic Thiem made history as he came from behind to edge Alexander Zverev to win his first grand slam title at the US Open on Sunday.

In a rollercoaster decider on a quiet Arthur Ashe Stadium, Thiem – playing his fourth major final – eventually closed out a 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6) victory.

The Austrian 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, needing more than four hours in the first US Open final to be decided by a fifth-set tie-break.

There were six breaks of serve in the final set, with Zverev – playing his first major final – giving up a 5-3 lead before Thiem also failed to serve it out at 6-5.

But as both players looked tired and with Thiem, 27, seemingly cramping, he managed to hold his nerve the better of the two to win a first major.

Zverev, who came from two sets down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in the last four, was this time on the front foot from the outset and needed only 30 minutes to take the opener.

The German, 23, broke his apparently anxious opponent twice in the first set and raced into a 5-1 lead in the second.

Thiem raced forward to volley at the net and earn one break back, but Zverev served out the set and quickly went about making progress in the third.

Yet another poor service game concluded with a wayward stroke under little pressure, seemingly bringing the finish line into view after just 90 minutes of play.

But Thiem finally showed some resilience and, despite seeing one opportunity pass with an agonising miss at the back of the court, he tied the set again, then staying patient before another gain took the match to a fourth as the wobbling Zverev went wide.

Thiem's level improved as both held comfortably to begin the fourth set, although the Austrian was passive as he squandered two break points in the sixth game.

But Thiem would take his next chance, grabbing a 5-3 lead when Zverev double faulted and then sent a forehand into the net, before closing it out to force a fifth set.

The pair traded breaks to begin the decider as both showed nerves before Thiem recovered from 0-30 in the sixth game and fell behind again in the eighth, Zverev breaking for a 5-3 lead, only to give that advantage straight back with a poor game when serving for the title.

Serving at 30-30 in the 10th game, Thiem produced two spectacular forehands, the first a rocket down the line before a passing shot.

Thiem, looking the more tired and perhaps cramping, broke for 6-5 when Zverev sent a forehand well long, but he too failed to serve it out after a brief visit from the trainer.

Zverev's 15th double fault gave Thiem a 5-3 lead in the tie-break before the latter squandered two match points, including one from a weak second serve from the German.

But Thiem would finally close out victory, falling onto his back behind the baseline as Zverev pulled a backhand wide to complete a dramatic finish.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Thiem [2] bt Zverev [5] 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6)

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Thiem – 43/55
Zverev – 52/64

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Thiem – 8/8
Zverev – 15/15

BREAK POINTS WON

Thiem – 7/13 
Zverev – 8/18

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE

Thiem – 62
Zverev – 64

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE

Thiem – 68/48
Zverev – 70/41

TOTAL POINTS

Thiem – 162
Zverev – 159

Naomi Osaka simply wanted to avoid an embarrassing loss before recovering to beat Victoria Azarenka in the US Open final.

Osaka claimed her third grand slam title and second in New York, overcoming Azarenka 1-6 6-3 6-3 in the decider on Saturday.

The Japanese star found herself behind a set and a break before fighting back.

Osaka, 22, said her aim was to avoid a thrashing after making such a poor start.

"I think in the first set I was so nervous, I wasn't moving my feet," she told a news conference.

"I felt like I was not playing – not that I expect myself to play 100 per cent, but it would be nice if I could even play, like, 70 per cent. But, yeah, I just felt like I was too much in my own head.

"Then in the second set, of course I was down early, which really didn't help me out. I just thought to myself to be positive, don't lose 6-1 6-0, hopefully give her a slight run for her money.

"Yeah, I just sort of ran with that line of thinking."

Osaka wore a face mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy shot and killed by police in 2014.

It was the seventh different name worn by Osaka at the US Open as she drew attention to police brutality and racism.

Asked if she would be willing to meet families of victims at the end of the season, Osaka said: "Yeah, I mean, definitely. I feel like for me I learn more through experiences.

"Everyone sort of thinks they know, or I actually don't want to know how they're feeling or how they felt during the process.

"For me, I feel like sharing stories and hearing people's experiences is very valuable."

Victoria Azarenka hopes French Open organisers will put players first "rather than making money".

The rescheduled grand slam is set to start on September 27 amid the coronavirus pandemic, with fans to be in attendance.

Although it will be a limited number of spectators, it comes as COVID-19 cases surge again in France.

After losing the US Open final to Naomi Osaka on Saturday, Azarenka urged officials to protect players.

"I'm kind of excited for that, to play on clay. I haven't had the best relationship with clay seasons for years. Last year I kind of had a lot of fun. So I'm looking forward to just slide a little more," she told a news conference.

"It will be very interesting for me to see how French Open is going to handle the situation with the bubble life, with the COVID now.

"I hope they will do a good job of protecting the players first rather than making money. So we'll see."

Azarenka fell short of a third grand slam title and first since 2013, losing 1-6 6-3 6-3 to Osaka in what was her fifth major final.

While accepting the defeat hurt, the Belarusian said she would move on quickly.

"I'm not disappointed. I'm not necessarily disappointed. It's just painful. It's painful to lose. That is what it is. It was close. I was close. But it didn't go my way," Azarenka said.

"Am I going to think about it too long? Not at all. I said it. I win or I lose, I'm not going to change. I'm not going to sit here and be miserable. This was an experience that was just an experience that didn't go my way.

"I had a great two weeks. I enjoyed myself. I did everything I could today. Could I have played better? I think I could. But I left everything I could on the court today. She won the match. All the credit to Naomi. She's a champion.

"As I said, I thought third time is a charm, but I got to try again. That's what I'm going to do."

Naomi Osaka landed her second US Open title in three years – and unlike last time there was unmitigated joy for the Japanese player.

Her 2018 triumph was largely overshadowed by Serena Williams' outbursts towards umpire Carlos Ramos, which led to a hostile crowd atmosphere, even during the trophy ceremony.

Osaka hid her face behind a visor, having been reduced to tears, and it was about as unpleasant as any first grand slam victory experience could possibly be.

On that occasion, Osaka struggled to find a smile. Sensing the crowd were baying for a Williams win, she said then: "I know everyone was cheering for her and I'm sorry it had to end like this."

But this time Osaka had her moment, albeit in unusual circumstances, with no spectators inside Arthur Ashe Stadium but for a scattering of officials, players, coaches and loved ones.na

She was able to celebrate with her team, with nothing to detract from the moment.

The satisfaction was obvious, with the 22-year-old securing her third slam, lying down on the court and taking in the moment after fending off Victoria Azarenka 1-6 6-3 6-3.

Osaka would have raised laughter from a crowd with her description of that moment, explaining why she did not fall immediately to the floor after sealing the win but carefully chose her spot.

"Because I always see everyone collapse after match point," she said, asked what was going through her mind. "But I always think you may injure yourself so I wanted to do it safely."

She explained how she was able to turn around the match. Doing so made Osaka the first player since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario against Steffi Graf at the 1994 US Open to drop the opening set yet take the women's singles title.

"I just thought it would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour so I had to try as hard as I can and stop having a really bad attitude," Osaka said.

There was clear bonhomie between the two finalists, with Azarenka telling Osaka: "I'm very happy for you and I hope we can meet in some more finals again."

In response, Osaka said: "I actually don't want to play you in more finals. I didn't really enjoy that! It was a really tough match for me."

She came onto the court wearing a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy who was shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, six years ago.

Osaka has worn similar masks, with a different name each time, throughout the tournament, in her effort to encourage the conversation in the United States and beyond about racial inequality and police brutality.

Asked what message she was trying to get across, Osaka told the on-court interviewer: "What was the message that you got? [That] was more of the question.

"The point is to make people start talking.

"I've been inside of the bubble so I'm not really sure what's really going on in the outside world. All I can tell is what's going on on social media and I feel like the more retweets it gets – that's so lame, but you know, the more people talk about it."

Naomi Osaka landed the third grand slam title of her career and second at the US Open as she produced a brilliant fightback to deny Victoria Azarenka.

The Japanese player won 1-6 6-3 6-3 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, becoming only the fifth player in the Open Era to win her first three finals at the majors.

It was a staggering effort, not least because she lost the first set in just 27 minutes, with Azarenka carrying on where she left off against Serena Williams in the semi-finals.

At that stage, the final at Flushing Meadows looked set to be disappointingly one-sided and brief, and that sense was only accentuated when Azarenka broke immediately in the second set too.

By then there had already been one racket fling from Osaka, the 22-year-old who might just become the dominant player of her generation but found herself in a huff.

Suddenly, however, the match flipped. Osaka began to land her big shots, and the result was that she won seven of the next eight games.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, lost back-to-back US Open finals to Williams in 2012 and 2013, and she dearly did not want to experience that feeling again.

When Osaka broke to lead 3-1 in the decider, it seemed Azarenka was destined to experience that unwanted hat-trick.

It came as a surprise when Osaka then allowed Azarenka three break points in the next game, but somehow she avoided dropping serve.

In a match of twists, there were more to come, firstly with Azarenka scoring that much-needed break back in Osaka's next service game, only to then lose her own serve.

Osaka, 5-3 up, serving for the match, just about held her nerve as Azarenka kept the pressure on.

Eventually, Azarenka netted a backhand, and Osaka shrieked in delight, touched rackets with Azarenka and lay down on the court.

She had every right to savour the moment. Champion in 2018, that night was overshadowed for many, even perhaps for Osaka, by Williams, on her way to defeat, rowing with chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

This time it was Osaka's moment and hers alone. A wide smile across her face told its own story.

Daniil Medvedev felt Dominic Thiem played like a member of the 'big three' in their US Open semi-final on Friday.

Thiem triumphed in straight sets 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) after Medvedev – the runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year – passed up a set point in the second-set tie-break and another when serving with a 5-3 lead in the third.

With Novak Djokovic having been defaulted from his fourth-round meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta for hitting a line judge with a ball, Rafael Nadal opting out of the tournament due to coronavirus concerns, and Roger Federer sitting out after undergoing knee surgery, the US Open will see the first maiden grand slam champion since Marin Cilic in 2014.

But Medvedev still felt like he was up against one of the ATP Tour's leading three players in his meeting with Thiem, who will battle Alexander Zverev in Sunday's showpiece.

"He played like a real champion. As I say, that's actually the stress of big three. No matter which day you play them, it seems like they play the same level," said Medvedev.

"Talking about myself or Dominic, we can have these bad days where maybe you can say I'm going to play to the backhand of Dominic and get some chances.

"Well, not during this US Open or Australian Open. He's playing really some great tennis, backhand, forehand, slice. Everything is there.

"I tried to mix it up. I feel like I've done a lot of great things tonight, but just didn't get it until the end."

Medvedev added: "He had a little bit more energy tonight, maybe. Let's call it a winning energy. I think it was the feeling throughout all the match. That's why I was serving two times for the set.

"I didn't do anything wrong, but he was playing really good. He fought until the end. I also fought for it until the end.

"We can discuss for hours about this, maybe I should have played cross, down the line. But tennis is not only about this, and he was really good tonight."

During the first set Medvedev received a code violation for crossing the net to point out where the ball had landed after being deemed not to have challenged in time.

The Russian took his complaints to the match supervisor and was heard saying: "The US Open is a joke, right? What did I do to get a code? Ah, yeah, sorry, I think I killed someone, right? Sorry, I was so bad to cross the net. My sincere apologies to the US Open for crossing the net."

Asked about the incident in his post-match news conference, Medvedev said: "I was just really angry. Of course, there was no reason to talk to him.

"But what surprises me sometimes in tennis is, okay, the supervisor is always there in case, let's say, for example, a default. He steps up, calls a default. It's not the decision of an umpire.

"For example, talking about my code violation today, I mean, what did I do? Did I hurt someone? Did I say something rude? I didn't do anything. I get a code. I'm like, supervisor, do something. Why are you sitting here?

"I still don't know the answer to this question. Of course, there was no reason to get angry on this."

Medvedev said he planned to have a short rest before playing the Hamburg Open to prepare for another grand slam tilt at Roland Garros.

"Last clay season my best tournaments were the first ones. Here I'm only going to have two. Hopefully I can have some great results," he said.

Dominic Thiem joked that he will have to call former world number one Andy Murray if he loses a fourth grand slam final after reaching the US Open decider.

Thiem defeated last year's US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) in Friday's semi-final as the second seed eyes an elusive major title.

The Austrian star has lost all three slam finals he has featured in – the 2020 Australian Open decider against Novak Djokovic and the 2019 and 2019 French Open showpieces to Rafael Nadal.

Murray was beaten in four major finals before breaking through for his maiden slam via the 2012 US Open and Thiem joked on court post-match: "If I win, I have my first [grand slam title]. If not, I have to slowly call Andy Murray to find out how it is with 0-4."

Pressed on those comments and whether he had ever spoken to three-time slam champion Murray about overcoming slam final defeats, Thiem told reporters: "I never talked to anyone. It was all good so far. But I was joking about it.

"It's easy for Andy because he has won three in the meantime. But that's not what I'm thinking about Sunday. I just going to go in fully focused, like in all the six previous matches. The world continues no matter what's result is, so it's going to be fine.

"Of course, I'm super happy that I gave myself another chance to be in the finals, pretty quick after Australia. Going to be a great one against a very good friend and a great rival."

Thiem – the first Austrian male to make the singles at the US Open – capitalised against a wasteful Medvedev, who failed to serve out the second and third sets on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

First-time slam finalist and fifth seed Alexander Zverev awaits Thiem at Flushing Meadows in New York – a rematch of the pair's entertaining Australian Open semi-final showdown earlier this year.

It provides a different challenge for Thiem, who has come up against all-time greats Djokovic and Nadal in his previous final appearances.

But Thiem insisted he "won't change his mindset at all", adding: "I know what Sascha is capable of. Also the last match we had in Australia, we were both really, really good. It was such a close match.

"I will go in like in the previous six matches. As I said, from the moment Novak was out of the tournament [default in the fourth round], it was clear that there's going to be a new grand slam champion. From that moment on, that was also out of my mind. I was just focusing on the remaining guys left in the draw.

"Now it's Sascha remaining, the last one, my opponent in the finals. I will fully focus on him and just go into that match like in the all other matches I was going in so far in this tournament.

"He's a hell of a player. One of the greatest ones in last years. Won all titles besides a major. He will also try everything what he's capable of doing to win the title. It's going to be a super difficult match. For me, it really doesn't matter whether it's him or one of the big three. I just try to go in there and give my best."

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