Grand Slam box ticked, Thiem targets Tokyo podium – tennis

Having fulfilled his dream of becoming a member of the Grand Slam winners membership by taking the U.S. Open title this yr, Austrian Dominic Thiem is setting out his targets for 2021 and hopes to be standing on the podium on the Tokyo Olympics. The 27-yr-outdated misplaced three Grand Slam finals earlier than lastly successful at Flushing Meadows in September, turning into the primary participant outdoors the trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic to win a serious since 2016.

Thiem skipped the Rio Olympics in 2016 and was set to overlook Tokyo as a consequence of scheduling points earlier than the Games have been pushed again to 2021 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

While subsequent yr’s tennis calendar has but to be confirmed, the boys’s world quantity three mentioned Tokyo was pencilled into his plans.

“I am going to participate at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo starting on July 23!” Thiem mentioned in a put up on his web site. “I have been thinking about it for a longer period of time, and next year it eventually fits into my tournament schedule.”

Thiem is coached by Chile’s Nicolas Massu, who gained each the singles and doubles gold medals in Athens in 2004.

“And I am looking forward to it to compete for a medal. My coach Nicolas Massu won two gold medals in Athens in 2004, he told me about the incredibly wonderful emotions,” he added.

“I want to feel these kind of emotions myself. For an athlete the atmosphere at the Olympics must be unique, I want to soak it all up.”

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Medvedev, Thiem get tennis set for intriguing 2021 – tennis

No one thinks it’s time to write down off Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal — and even Roger Federer — simply but. Well, they shouldn’t, anyway.

Still, the season-ending ATP Finals set the stage for an intriguing 2021 in males’s tennis with the emergence of Daniil Medvedev and the continued excellence of Dominic Thiem, a pair of 20-somethings who look able to proceed their climbs to the game’s apex.

They’re a part of a bunch of up-and-coming males that additionally consists of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev, all of whom are exhibiting indicators they’re for actual and able to take the subsequent steps. It offers everybody fodder for thought till motion resumes in Australia in January, if the coronavirus pandemic permits.

“We proved that we can play with the legends, that we can also beat them, that we can also win the biggest tournaments,” mentioned Thiem, whose title on the U.S. Open in September gave him his first Grand Slam trophy.

“The next few years, the Big Three still will play for every big title, but I guess there’s still going to be a time when those guys will retire — I don’t know, in three, four, five years,” Thiem mentioned. “And then, I guess, we will be the favorites for all the big titles. For tennis, some exciting times are coming ahead.” He mentioned this Sunday night time in London after shedding to Medvedev 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 on the ATP Finals within the final tour match of the yr.

They reached the championship match with stirring three-set semifinal victories that felt a bit portentous: No. 3 Thiem knocked off No. 1 Djokovic, and No. 4 Medvedev eradicated No. 2 Nadal.

“An amazing accomplishment for a new generation,” Medvedev known as it.

“It’s super for tennis. We are starting to … (make) our marks,” mentioned Medvedev, who additionally beat Djokovic within the spherical-robin portion of the event and have become the primary man within the 50-yr historical past of the ATP Finals to defeat every of the gamers ranked 1-3 on the occasion.

Austria’s Thiem, 27, has appeared in 4 Grand Slam finals — shedding twice to Nadal on the French Open, as soon as to Djokovic on the Australian Open — and is now a two-time finalist on the ATP Finals (Tsitsipas beat him in 2019). Thiem’s highly effective baseline recreation is terrific, however he wants so as to add some selection and mid-match adaptability.

Russia’s Medvedev, 24, was the runner-as much as Nadal on the 2019 U.S. Open and misplaced to Thiem within the semifinals there this yr. His capacity to assume his approach by means of a match may be unmatched — he shifted techniques to rework his matches in opposition to Nadal and Thiem in London — and his exhausting-court docket success is plain, however to essentially attain the higher echelon and keep there, he’ll need to enhance on clay (0-4 on the French Open) and grass (by no means previous the third spherical at Wimbledon).

Greece’s Tsitsipas, Germany’s Zverev (who not too long ago denied allegations of home violence made by a former girlfriend) and Russia’s Rublev are all underneath 24 and ranked within the Top 10.

None has received a serious, though Zverev got here fairly shut, holding a two-set lead earlier than permitting Thiem to return again within the U.S. Open remaining.

It can be foolhardy to consider Djokovic, 33, and Nadal, 34, can’t add to their Grand Slam totals; even Federer, 39, shouldn’t be discounted after lacking a lot of the yr following two operations on his proper knee.

They’ve mixed to win 53 of the final 62 main championships and 57 in all: 20 apiece for Federer and Nadal, 17 for Djokovic.

And in 2020, they received two of three (Wimbledon was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak).

But after years of domination, they could lastly have some worthy competitors.

“Roger, Rafa, (Novak), and also Andy (Murray) — they did so much for the sport. They brought so many people to tennis. So many new fans to tennis. … There’s going to be a time when they’re not around anymore,” Thiem mentioned. “Then it’s going to be so important to keep all the tennis fans, to keep them with this great sport. And I think that’s our challenge.”

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A refreshing Dominic Thiem for the tennis world – tennis

It is fairly unbelievable that in a virus-curtailed tennis calendar—it noticed loads of tournaments being shelved, together with a Grand Slam in Wimbledon—Dominic Thiem discovered the time, house and wherewithal to demand the reformation of the Big Four membership. It can be fairly unbelievable that he did this regardless of dropping extra massive finals (the Australian Open in January and the ATP Tour Finals in London on Sunday) than he gained—the US Open in September.

But view this prism from Thiem’s line-of-sight and it turns into evident how, in 2020, he made a transfer that many had promised however none had pulled off in a protracted, very long time—that of going from greatest-of-the-rest to a potential nice. With Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer nonetheless related in Melbourne at the starting of the yr, Thiem made his first Slam closing exterior of Paris, beating Nadal alongside the manner and dropping solely to Djokovic in 5 draining units.

Then he pressured his manner into the second Sunday at the US Open, a floor so unsuited to his gradual-courtroom abilities that in the tune-up occasion in New York, he misplaced in the first spherical to a person who’s but to win an ATP title in Filip Krajinovic. Yet, there he was in the center of an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium three brief weeks later, successful his first Slam closing in 4 makes an attempt.

And Thiem would’ve made a greater case for himself than a quarterfinal exit at the French Open—a event the place he had made heads flip in the first place by reaching the closing in the final two years—had it not been held in an alien month, instantly on the again of his bruising US Open marketing campaign.

“It has been an outstanding year,” Thiem stated on Sunday after dropping the closing match of the tennis season to Daniil Medvedev, the second consecutive yr he has fallen simply in need of the ATP Tour Finals trophy. “I have reached one of my big lifetime goals with winning that Grand Slam. So even though it’s a tough year, it will always have a special place in my heart, hundred percent.”

A HALLMARK OF HOPE

The panorama of tennis has been plagued by false hope over the previous few years, and the winners of the final 4 ATP Tour Finals have been emblematic of that delusion. Grigor Dimitrov, champion in 2017, is but to make a Grand Slam closing, fairly like 2019’s winner in Stefanos Tsitsipas. While 2018 and 2020’s yr-finish winners, Alexander Zverev and Medvedev, have reached one every. Thiem, on the different hand, has made 4 (similar as Stan Wawrinka) on three completely different surfaces.

When the Austrian made his first French Open semifinal in 2016, his defining traits have been his scything single-handed backhand and the capability to pound the ball more durable than it had ever been hit on the circuit. Today, the hallmark of his sport is hope—not simply as a future star, however in matches {that a} lesser participant would think about a misplaced trigger. Especially in a misplaced trigger.

No participant earlier than Thiem had made a fist of an Australian Open closing after Djokovic had gained the first set. Remember the 2019 version when the Serb rapidly wrapped up the first set towards Nadal and went on to present him all of 1 level on serve in the second? In truth, earlier than 2020, Djokovic had misplaced all of 1 set in a Melbourne closing after successful the first set. Until Thiem got here again to win units two and three this yr and ended up stretching and troubling Djokovic for 4 hours.

This newfound by no means-give-up angle was raised to its optimum restrict in the US Open closing when he fought again from two units and a break down towards Zverev. The German then had the championship on his racquet at 5-3 in the fifth, however Thiem merely refused to roll over and limped his method to a miraculous turnaround, the first of its type in New York in 71 years.

“I hope that everybody in my family, especially my grandparents, made it well through the match. It couldn’t have been easy for them for sure, so I hope they’re all fine,” he stated at the Flushing Meadows trophy ceremony and laughed. The nicely-being of his grandparents would maybe have been on his thoughts final week as nicely, when he rallied again from 0-4 down towards Djokovic in the closing tiebreak of the semifinal.

“I thought that after my first big title in New York, maybe I am going to be a little more calm on court,” he stated after making his second straight closing in the London yr-ender. “But I guess that was a mistake. I was just as nervous as before.”

These nerves, nevertheless, are an excellent factor; a telltale signal {that a} participant is hungry for greater than he has already achieved.

They held Thiem in good stead to change into the first man in his twenties to win a Grand Slam since Andy Murray in 2016, and the youngest since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009. In 2021, his nearest rivals in Federer, Nadal and Djokovic flip 40, 35 and 34 respectively. Thiem, who turns 28 solely throughout the defence of his US Open title, is by far the youngest amongst his new equals.

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Rublev beats already-qualified Thiem at ATP Finals – tennis

The lights went out unexpectedly at the O2 Arena, inflicting the beginning of the match between Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals to be delayed Thursday. The already-qualified Thiem was in need of vitality, too, when play ultimately started.

The U.S. Open champion misplaced to Rublev 6-2, 7-5 in a contest that had little actual consequence for both participant, with Thiem assured of being the winner of the group after earlier victories over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal and his Russian opponent unable to qualify for the semifinals after again-to-again losses.

“It was difficult to keep that amazing intensity like I had in the first two matches,” Thiem stated. “I wanted to win the match, 100%, but the first two matches were pretty tough, pretty long.

“So with the fact I was already qualified, in the back on my mind it was difficult to keep the intensity alive.”

Thiem stated the loss to Rublev was “not painful at all.”

“I’m focused on Saturday now,” he stated.

Tsitsipas and Nadal will meet later Thursday to determine who advances together with Thiem.

Rublev performed like somebody with nothing to lose, overwhelming Thiem along with his serve and fierce groundstrokes to take the Austrian’s first two service video games and clinch the primary set in lower than 26 minutes. He dropped solely three factors on serve and had no unforced errors in that set.

The second set was a lot nearer, although Rublev was on high and serving at 4-3 when he misplaced eight straight factors to get again on serve.

Rublev regrouped, broke Thiem after a protracted subsequent recreation that includes some intense rallies, then served out the match for his first win in his debut at the season-ending event.

“It was not easy for Dommy,” stated Rublev, who has gained 5 occasions on the tour this 12 months in a breakthrough season. “I think he (was) focused on the semis. I wish him good luck — he deserves to be where he is and he deserves to win the title.”

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Medvedev storms back to beat Thiem and claim ATP Finals title – tennis

Daniil Medvedev barged to the pinnacle of the queue of younger pretenders because the Russian captured the most important title of his profession by beating Dominic Thiem 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 in an absorbing climax to London’s final ATP Finals on Sunday.

Thiem was heading in the right direction to develop into the primary Austrian to win the title, following on from his latest U.S. Open triumph, however the relentless Medvedev turned the tide to strike a blow for the brand new era striving to shake up the tennis hierarchy.

There was no huge celebration as he fired an unreturnable first serve on match level to finish the 2 hours and 42 minutes scrap, bringing the curtain down on 12 memorable years on the O2 Arena earlier than Turin takes over as host of the event.

Fittingly the London period ended because it started with a Russian winner after Nikolay Davydenko took the 2009 title.

Sadly for an occasion that attracted 2.8 million followers through the years to the Thames-side area, the finale, a classic version, performed out in a silent area due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the thousands and thousands watching on TV can have appreciated the talent of Medvedev, who grew to become solely the fourth participant in ATP historical past to beat the world’s prime three on the similar event.

He joins David Nalbandian (Madrid 2007), Novak Djokovic (Montreal 2007) and Boris Becker (Stockholm 1994).

“It’s amazing,” Medvedev, who earned $1.56 million as an unbeaten champion, advised reporters. “I beat Novak (in the group), Rafa in the semis and Dominic, the best players in tennis right now. It shows what I’m capable of.”

IMAGINATIVE GAME

Medvedev’s imaginative recreation, a mix of sledgehammer energy, crafty angles and unreadable serving, proved past Djokovic within the group part and then second-ranked Rafael Nadal in Saturday’s semi-ultimate.

The 27-12 months-previous Thiem appeared to have mastered it however in the end was overwhelmed.

“I think Dominic was a little tired in the third set and to make him tired in a three-set match is tough,” Medvedev stated.

His triumph got here a 12 months after a chastening three defeats on his debut. The solely different participant to obtain such a drastic turnaround is Djokovic in 2008.

After such a scorching streak, together with claiming this month’s Paris Masters, the Moscovite was due a dip and it arrived within the first set as he threw away a 40-0 lead on serve at 2-2, gifting Thiem a break with a double-fault.

It proved sufficient for Thiem to pocket the primary set and he went for the short kill within the second as Medvedev’s normally rock-stable serve and forehand wavered.

MENACING MEDVEDEV

The Russian hung powerful although, saving break factors at 2-2 and 3-3, and started to look menacing because the tiebreak arrived.

Thiem led 2-0 however Medvedev reeled off seven factors in a row to guarantee London’s farewell would go the gap.

Thiem, who had additionally overwhelmed Nadal and Djokovic this week, had spent two extra hours on court docket than Medvedev to attain the ultimate and his silky recreation started to fray.

Medvedev stalked him together with his energy and accuracy and the Russian secured the very important break of serve at 2-2 with a stealthy method and volleyed winner.

Thiem dug in however world quantity 4 Medvedev by no means appeared like letting his lead slip as he grew to become the fifth successive first-time winner of the title.

Medvedev’s friends Alexander Zverev, 23, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22, gained the final two titles right here however neither have gone on to claim a Grand Slam.

Medvedev will enter 2021 as the person most certainly to make that breakthrough for the a lot-hyped subsequent era.

“For tennis there are exciting times coming,” Thiem stated of the brand new vanguard. “Super important for the sport in general.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis/Ken Ferris/Paul Simao)

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