September 20, 2020

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‘I was super, super tight’ – Dominic Thiem confesses to US Open final nerves

3 min read

Thiem came through in the end (Picture: Getty)

Dominic Thiem insists there were no physical issues hampering him in the US Open final and that he was merely ‘super, super tight’ in the early exchanges of the match.

There were question marks over Thiem’s physical condition after he required treatment during his semi-final win over Daniil Medvedev on Friday and his poor performance in the first two sets of the match left open the suggestion that he was not fully fit.

The world No. 3 from Austria became the first man in the Open Era to win the US Open from two sets down, requiring a fifth set tiebreak to see off Alexander Zverev 2-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

While Zverev was making his debut at this stage of a major, Thiem had played in three previous Grand Slam finals – losing twice to Rafael Nadal at the French Open and in five sets to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open earlier this year – but Thiem felt experience counted for nothing as he struggled to shake off the pre-match jitters.

‘Honestly, I think it [experience] didn’t help me at all because I was so tight in the beginning,’ said Thiem. ‘Maybe it was not even good that I played in previous major finals.

‘I mean, I wanted this title so much, and of course there was also in my head that if I lose this one, it’s 0-4. It’s always in your head. Is this chance ever coming back again?

Thiem won his first major (Picture: Getty)

‘This, that, all these thoughts, which are not great to play your best tennis, to play free.

‘That’s what exactly happened in the beginning. Luckily then things changed in the third set. At the end was complete open match, 50/50. I think the experience didn’t mean that much today.

He added: ‘Physically I was 100% fine in the beginning of the match. I had some troubles with the Achilles in the semis, but that worked out great, I didn’t feel any pain.

‘The problem was my nerves. I was super, super tight. I was tighter than in a long time. Didn’t even know how that feels anymore. Didn’t even know how to get rid of that. But somehow I did it in the third set.

‘As I said, the emotions, they were much, much tougher to handle today than my body because it was fine.’

His beaten opponent Zverev, who revealed he was cramping in the fifth set, cut a devastated figure in his post-match press conference, acknowledging that a glorious opportunity had passed him by.

‘Obviously being two sets to love and a break up in a Grand Slam final then losing is not easy,’ said world No. 7 Zverev.

Zverev was beaten (Picture: Getty)

‘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.

‘I was super close to being a Grand Slam champion. I was a few games away, maybe a few points away. 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.

‘Yeah, I mean, 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.’

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