The Austrian, winner in New York of his first Grand Slam tournament, will be more than ever expected at Porte d’Auteuil (September 27-October 11).
Paradox. It is far from his beloved clay that Dominic Thiem, winner of an incredible final against Alexander Zverev (2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6), won his first Grand Slam . And shattered a glass ceiling by becoming the first player born in the 90s to win in a Major. First new winner of a Grand Slam also since Marin Cilic, six years ago, already in New York, the 27-year-old Austrian reached his tennis Grail, after three defeats at this stage of the competition against Rafael Nadal (Roland- Garros 2018 and 2019) and Novak Djokovic (Australian Open 2020). It must be said that the opportunity was great to finally open his counter, in the absence of Federer and Nadal and with the departure of the big favorite Djokovic, excluded in 8e final. Winner of Roland-Garros juniors in 2011, Thiem revealed himself to the general public in 2016 by reaching the semi-finals in Paris. Until this year, he had never yet crossed the quarterfinals in Grand Slam anywhere other than Porte d’Auteuil, where he has reached at least the semi-finals every year since 2016. Of the seventeen titles that garnish his record , ten were conquered on clay. But the Austrian can no longer only be labeled as a formidable Terran.
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Shaped at the school of rough Günter Bresnik, the overpowered one-handed backhand right-hander has become a more complete player under the leadership of his new coach, Nicolas Massu, former 9e worldwide in 2004, with whom he has worked for a year and a half, progressing in particular in the return of service exercise. It is also on hard that he won his first Masters 1000, in March 2019 in Indian Wells. “I realized that I might one day win a Major when I first reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros (2016), when I reached the Top 10. At the time , I thought my best chances were on clay. But at the end of last year, that changed when I won in Beijing, Vienna and played really well at the Masters. There, I realized that my game adapted very well to the hard. So it’s not really a surprise to me that it didn’t happen in Paris. ”
“I hope that from now on I will play a little more liberated in the other big tournaments”
If he has already managed the performance of beating the king of clay, Rafael Nadal, four times on his favorite surface, he has only snatched one set in four confrontations at Roland Garros. The Mallorcan, who makes his comeback this week on Rome ocher, will still be the favorite in Paris for a 13e sacred, but the threat Thiem becomes clearer. He won the US Open. He will win Roland-Garros one day. It remains to be seen whether the 3e world player will have recovered from his trying fortnight … “I think that physically I will be very well, 100%. But the question is how am I going to handle this emotionally, mentally. I have never been in this situation where I have just achieved a very big goal. I hope that from now on I will play a little more liberated in the other big tournaments. ” His friend Zverev predicts that his executioner “will win many more”. The bet is on.