ATP

Djokovic will be back stronger than ever in 2022, says Thiem

By Sports Desk September 13, 2021

Novak Djokovic was "playing for history" and suffered from nerves in his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, according to previous champion Dominic Thiem, who backed the 34-year-old to return "stronger than ever" in 2022.

Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

"One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

 

"I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

"He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

"So, it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore."

Thiem, who missed the tournament with a wrist injury that will rule him out until 2022, believes nerves were a factor in Djokovic's defeat but agreed with Medvedev's assessment of the Serbian as the greatest of all time – though he could not set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

"So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

Related items

  • Paolini overcomes Riske to win first WTA singles title in Portoroz Paolini overcomes Riske to win first WTA singles title in Portoroz

    Jasmine Paolini battled to a straight-sets victory over Alison Riske in Sunday's Portoroz final to win her maiden WTA singles title.

    World number 87 Paolini had already eliminated three seeded players to reach her first final and she recovered from a slow start to see off another 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

    Third seed Riske led 5-2 in the first set after breaking her opponent's serve three times in the opening seven games, but Paolini dug deep and took four games on the spin.

    The Italian used that momentum in the tie-break to open up a 5-2 advantage before getting over the line with her second set point.

    After a gruelling 63-minute opening set, Paolini found the second a more straightforward affair as she broke for 3-2 and reeled off the remaining games, the last of those points coming via an error-forcing forehand.

    Paolini, who won two-thirds of her second-service points and converted six of her 10 break points, is glad her hard work has paid off with a first singles success at the age of 25.

    "It's been an amazing week here in Portoroz," she said in her on-court interview. "I feel just very happy, it's a big achievement for me, to win my first title. It's special to do it on the hard court.

    "It wasn't easy to go through to the final. I'm proud of myself because I never gave up.

    "I'm working really hard in the past couple of months. I understood more about my game, I think. I just want to keep this level for all the season that is almost finished, and to stay strong and keep this level."

  • Tauson triumphs in Luxembourg as Ostapenko falls at final hurdle Tauson triumphs in Luxembourg as Ostapenko falls at final hurdle

    Teenager Clara Tauson defeated Jelena Ostapenko to claim her second WTA Tour title of the year at the Luxembourg Open. 

    Tauson, the last player to defeat US Open champion Emma Raducanu, had already knocked out Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova en route to the final before taking another big scalp in Sunday's showdown. 

    The defending champion from 2019, Ostapenko could not stop the 18-year-old Dane prevailing 6-3 4-6 6-4. 

    Tauson, who defeated Raducanu to win a Challenger event in Chicago prior to the final grand slam of the year in New York, where she was beaten by Ash Barty, struck eight aces and made just one double fault throughout the match. 

    Two breaks of serve saw her take the first set in just 30 minutes, though Ostapenko rallied in the second to force a decider. 

    However, the world number 70 had too much for her rival with the trophy on the line, immediately coming from a break down to haul herself level before breaking to take the match at the second opportunity. 

    Ostapenko was hunting a fifth career title, but the 2017 French Open champion has made it to just one other final in 2021, triumphing at Eastbourne prior to Wimbledon. 

  • Teenager Tauson finds form that saw off Raducanu to reach Luxembourg final Teenager Tauson finds form that saw off Raducanu to reach Luxembourg final

    Danish teenager Clara Tauson set up a Luxembourg Open final showdown with Jelena Ostapenko, showing off the prowess that saw her beat Emma Raducanu in Chicago prior to the US Open.

    Raducanu recovered from that setback in the final of August's Challenger tournament in the Windy City, charging to a shock Flushing Meadows triumph, but fellow 18-year-old Tauson awaits her big breakthrough at the majors.

    Tauson took down a former French Open runner-up and current Olympic silver medallist in reaching the Luxembourg final, beating Marketa Vondrousova in three sets, and now must overcome a player who has been champion at Roland Garros in Ostapenko.

    She prised the vital break of serve in the ninth game of the decider against Vondrousova, upping the power in her shots, before serving out for a 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory.

    Tauson will be going for a second title of the year, having won the Lyon Open in March.

    Defending champion Ostapenko raced to a 6-1 5-1 lead over Liudmila Samsonova but then began to misfire and had to scramble from the brink of being taken to a third set.

    Ostapenko eventually prevailed 6-1 7-6 (7-4), having trailed 4-1 in the tie-break, and she will attempt to scoop a fifth WTA title on Sunday. Her most recent came at Eastbourne in the week before Wimbledon.

    At the WTA tournament in the Slovenian town of Portoroz, Sunday's final will feature American Alison Riske and Italy's Jasmine Paolini.

    Riske denied Slovenian Kaja Juvan a place in a home final, earning a 6-0 6-4 win in their semi-final, while Paolini sprang a shock by beating Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 1-6 6-3 6-4.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.