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Dominic Thiem is playing to win this year’s Australian Open. After breaking through in 2020 by winning his first major title at the US Open, the Austrian says he believes he believes he can win more major titles—maybe even this year.

Tennis Express

“I definitely want to win the tournament,” Thiem said in an interview he did with from his hotel room this week. “I start every tournament with the will to win it. With the exception of Wimbledon, maybe. During matches, I’m not more relaxed now because I’ve won a Grand Slam. I show the same amount of nerves as before. That certainly won’t change before the end of my career. But I also know that if I play well and am well prepared, my chances of going deep at the Australian Open or other Grand Slams are good. The objective of my preparation is now to get myself there.”

Thiem, who led Novak Djokovic two sets to one in last year’s Australian Open final, says that loss took a long time to get over.

“Over, time, I’ve learned to deal with defeats better,” he said. “Of course there are some that really hurt. Last year, here in Australia, was one of those, and I must have gnawed at it for two, three or four months.”

Australia is the mission at hand, but when Thiem is asked to express his biggest dream in the sport, he says what most might have guessed. He burns to win Roland Garros and believes it is the place where his game expresses itself the best.

“My biggest goal is the French Open. It’s always been the case these past few years. Because it remains the tournament I like the most, where the conditions suit me best. I played the final in 2011 as a junior. From that moment, It became the tournament I always wanted to win.”

Now if only Thiem could find a way to solve tennis toughest riddles: how to defeat the King of Clay Rafael Nadal at his favorite stomping grounds.

“He’s in a class of his own, and I don’t know if I trust myself to do it,” Thiem said. “I’ve never managed to beat him there. At other tournaments, I’m confident, because I’ve already done it, but beating him on this center court is probably one of the hardest challenges in sport. Only two players have managed to defeat him in 16 years, which is an insane statistic. I think that he’’ll still be the undisputed favourite and the strongest player in Paris for another year or two. But still, it’s my big goal and I’ll try again in 2021.”

Thiem, who is practicing and quarantining at Adelaide along with five other elite players and their training partners, also expressed his feelings about the difficulties of playing a Grand Slam after 14 days in hard lockdown. Thiem says that he will be fine as will the players in Melbourne that are allowed out for five hours a day. It is those 72 players who are forced to stay in their room for 24 hours a day who will really pay the price.

“I think it’s clear that there’s a complete inequality of opportunity,” Thiem said. “All players are fresh out of their pre-season, they are in really good shape and have top fitness. If you can’t leave your room for 14 days, it doesn’t matter how much fitness you do in the room, a lot of it just goes away. But that’s the risk we all took. It’s very, very bitter and very, very unfortunate. For all the players in Melbourne, I think it’s okay, they can train as it was planned. And fortunately, those who are in hard quarantine will have nine days before the start of the Australian Open.”


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