Dominic Thiem said there are only “small details” between himself and tennis’s Big Three and he’s convinced a breakthrough is imminent after losing the Australian Open final Sunday to Novak Djokovic.
The courageous Austrian enjoyed his best-ever tournament at Melbourne Park, taking down four seeds, including Rafael Nadal, to reach the decider.
He looked on track for a first-ever Grand Slam title after going two sets to one in front, but the experienced Serbian star staged a gutsy comeback to leave him empty-handed once again after losing the last two French Open finals to Nadal.
Despite this, the 26-year-old was encouraged at how close he and others, notably Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, now are to challenging the all-conquering Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer.
“I think it’s only small details. In the last two finals – US Open and here – it was really close. It could have gone either way for Daniil in US Open [against Nadal] and for me here,” he said, referring to Medvedev’s five-setter with Nadal at Flushing Meadows. “It takes nothing more than just little bit of luck, little details here and there.”
“Maybe if I converted the break point in the fourth set, maybe I’m sitting here as a winner. It just takes hard work,” he added. “Me and also the other young players have definitely the potential to win a Slam.”
Thiem came into his first final at Melbourne Park a much improved hardcourt player from 12 months ago and is now rightly regarded as one of the most dangerous on tour.
He said he had taken a lot from the Australian Open. “I didn’t have easy matches, especially from the quarters on. Beating Rafa in over four hours [in the last eight], then two days later going back out again against Sascha [Zverev],” he said. “Unbelievably intense, close match. Then two days later going out again against Novak, who won the most titles here and again played on a very high level.
“I’m very aware and sure now that I can play on a very high level for a full Grand Slam ... it makes me very confident for the next big tournaments which are coming up.”
Watch Dominic Thiem weighing in on his chances of reaching a Grand Slam final:
(With inputs from AFP)