World number four Dominic Thiem expressed confidence a new Grand Slam champion will be crowned in 2020 outside the big three of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
While the Austrian, Germany’s Alexander Zverev, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and others have had success at lesser tournaments, the big guns continue to dominate the Majors.
Thiem, in Sydney for the inaugural ATP Cup team event, is one of the men tipped to make the breakthrough, with the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, just weeks away in Melbourne.
He said on Thursday the younger players were getting close.
“I think we challenged them already a lot. We also beat them especially on Masters 1000 stages and the ATP Finals,” said Thiem, who was runner-up to Tsitsipas at the ATP Finals in London in November.
“I think the last stage we have to conquer is the Grand Slam stage, and I really think we’ll see a new Grand Slam champion in 2020.
“I really hope that it’s me, but you cannot guarantee anything. There are also many other very strong guys who can achieve that.
“Maybe it’s also not happening and Big Three are taking all four,” he added. “But we are trying everything to achieve top position, to achieve the biggest titles, Grand Slam titles.”
Thiem, 26, won five titles last year at Indian Wells, Barcelona, Kitzbuhel, Beijing and Vienna, but he had a mixed time at the majors, falling at the first hurdle at Wimbledon and the US Open and in the second round in Australia.
However, he reached the final at Roland Garros, only to be beaten by clay king Nadal.
“I was really happy how my game developed, especially in the last part of the season in 2019,” he said.
“So I just tried to improve that, to practise and keep improving the things which were going well and then add some new things to my game. I’ll try everything to do my best this year.”