Thank You Dominic Thiem for Taking Away Predictability from Grand Slam Tennis


Thank You Dominic Thiem for Taking Away Predictability from Grand Slam Tennis

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The men’s final of the US Open played out on Sunday, and crowned a first-time winner. Dominic Thiem, the Austrian 27-year-old may not have been the odds-on favourite to lift the trophy, but after a hard-fought campaign (and strokes of luck like World No 1 Novak Djokovic being disqualified), he went on to the final against the German 23-year-old Alexander Zverev and eked out a victory.

Winning his first Grand Slam did not come easy for Thiem. He has been in three Grand Slam finals prior to this, but came up wanting in those encounters. In his earlier finals, Thiem has faced Novak Djokovic twice, and Rafael Nadal once. That is probably the stiffest opposition a professional tennis player could face in the current era, so facing off against the lower-ranked and lower-seeded Zverev at this year’s US Open might have been a welcome relief. However, the first half of the match looked like it could have been a case of fourth time unlucky for Thiem, as Zverev looked like he was on course to beat Thiem in straight sets.

During the third set, when Zverev was serving for match point, Thiem began to mount his comeback. In a gruelling match that lasted over four hours, Thiem clawed his way back from two sets down to win the last three sets of the match in a row, and finally claim his first Grand Slam title. He also made history by becoming the first player to win the US Open final after losing the first two sets in a row.

The legends of the sport congratulated Thiem on his hard-earned victory. American tennis legend Billie Jean King was among those watching who praised Thiem’s gritty performance.

For a player who has come so close to tasting glory, finally being able to grasp it at this year’s edition of the US Open has been a triumph for Dominic Thiem.