Dominic Thiem's not done yet. Having won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2020, he is now aiming even bigger.
The 27-year-old from Austria defeated Alexander Zverev in the final of Flushing Meadows—a less experienced opponent than Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, who he played in his three previous Grand Slam finals. And while Djokovic had been defaulted from the event upon hitting away a ball that accidentally struck a lineswoman, Thiem says that did not take away from his eventual win.
"Nobody knows if I would have won it. But I have the title, that’s all what counts," he told press at the ATP Dubai event, where he is playing this week. "Of course, the Big Three are the Big Three, but there is just no need to think about it because my name is there on the trophy and it always will be, so it doesn’t really matter who I beat or who was there or who was not there."
Along with Djokovic's default, Nadal did not play and Roger Federer was sidelined following his second right knee surgery.
Thiem does have repeated wins against the three, including Djokovic at the French Open and Nadal at the Australian Open, reaching the final both times. Now he wants to focus on clearing the final hurdle at Roland Garros, having stated his next aim is defeating Nadal at the clay-court major.
The Spaniard will aim to win a record-extending 14th title, and men's record 21st Grand Slam crown, after improving to 100-2 at the event with his triumph at the rescheduled event last October. Thiem owns four wins on clay over Nadal, but has managed to collect just one set in 13 played against the left-hander when squaring off in the French capital.
"It is one of the most difficult tasks to beat Nadal at Roland Garros," said Thiem. "Even then, it’s not in my hands, it’s in his hands and I can only hope that he is not having his best day and I have the perfect day to have a chance against him there."
First, though, Thiem will attempt to win his 18th tour-level title this week in Dubai. The top seed will start his campaign against Lloyd Harris.