Thiem Explains Why He Is 'Feeling Good' About His Australian Open Prep
“It's always something little bit different, to play for your country, [compared to] a normal tournament where you play only for yourself,” said Thiem, the No. 5 seed. “The other difference was that we had a very tough group. I was facing three top opponents... In Sydney, I only faced absolute top players.”
Thiem has never advanced past the fourth round of the Australian Open, making the Round of 16 in 2017 and 2018. But the Austrian was happy to gain momentum in Sydney, where he lost against Borna Coric, beat Diego Schwartzman, and then fell to Hubert Hurkacz. Both of his losses came in three sets.
“I think maybe my first match [of the] ATP Cup was not as great, but it was still the first match of the year, where I always have some trouble,” Thiem said. “But [my] second and third matches were really decent. I played some good tennis.”
Thiem has proven that he can compete against the best players in the world on hard courts, winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title on the surface at last year’s BNP Paribas Open, and then coming within a final-set tie-break of lifting the Nitto ATP Finals trophy, falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the London championship match only two months ago.
So with that confidence in his back pocket and solid preparation in Melbourne with his star-studded coaching team of former World No. 1 Thomas Muster and former World No. 9 Nicolas Massu, Thiem could be ready for a career-best effort Down Under.
“[I’ve] got in some really good practices with the best players in the world,” Thiem said. “Preparation is going well. [I am] feeling good about the start [of the Australian Open].”
Thiem will play his first-round match on Tuesday against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, whom he has beaten in all seven of their ATP Head2Head meetings. The Austrian’s most recent triumph against Mannarino came two years ago at the Australian Open in straight sets.