Dominic Thiem produced a historic comeback to beat friend and rival Alexander Zverev in a nervy five-setter and win the US Open on Sunday for his first Grand Slam title.
The second seeded Austrian beat the fifth seed 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) in 4hr 2min inside a near-empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It marked the first time in the US Open’s Open era history that a player had recovered from losing the opening two sets to win the title and it was also the first time the final of the American Major had been settled by a tie-break.
The title marks Thiem’s maiden Grand Slam trophy after three previous defeats in finals of tennis majors.
An emotional Zverev promised that he would soon lift the trophy himself. “I was super close to being a Grand Slam champion. I was a few games away, maybe a few points away,” a dejected Zverev told reporters.
“For me what upset me the most is not the third set, it’s the fifth set,” when he was serving for the championship at 5-3.
“I had a lot of chances in the fifth set and didn’t use them.”
Watch the videos of Zverev’s post-match speech and press conference below:
Q. Can you quantify for us where you think the match turned?
Zverev: Yeah, I mean, obviously being two sets to love and a break up in a Grand Slam final then losing is not easy. 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.
Q. Dominic just said he felt the pressure of his fourth major final and thinking he might not get another chance. What were you thinking and feeling from the time you won the first two sets?
Zverev: 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.
Q. As disappointing as this is, are you able to take positives away and look ahead?
Zverev: That question is probably two, three days too early to ask right now.
Q. When did you decide it was better not to hit the first serve as you usually do, probably fearing the problem you had with your second serve? You still did two double-faults unfortunately in the tiebreaker.
Zverev: Yeah, but I was cramping in the tiebreaker really. My left quad was cramping, I couldn’t push off anymore. I couldn’t actually hit the first serve anymore. So, yeah, that was the reason.
Q. What have you learned from your work with David Ferrer, and how did that help you in the
Zverev: I mean, look, I just lost 7-6 in the fifth in a Grand Slam final. David is great. I’ve said it on multiple occasions.
Yeah, right now, as I said before, I learned a lot from him. Right now I don’t think is the time to talk about that.
Q. In the presentation ceremony you had a bit of a hard time, spoke about your parents. Can you give us an update on that? Are they okay? Are they symptomatic?
Zverev: They’re fine. They’re actually negative already. That’s the reason they didn’t come here. But, yeah, I mean, look, losing 7-6 in the fifth after being two sets to love and a break up is not easy. At the speech, I mean, I got emotional. I couldn’t put two words together. I don’t actually remember what I said.
Yeah, it was a difficult moment for me.
Transcript courtesy US Open / ASAP Sports
With AFP inputs