Thiem: 'I Cannot Beat These Guys Every Single Time'
Dominic Thiem has been playing some of the best tennis of his career over the past couple months, from winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open to sweeping his way to the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell trophy without losing a set, including an impressive win against Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.
“I never complain about [reaching a Masters] 1000 semi-final. It's a very good result. I beat three very good players and I lost 6 and 6 to Djokovic,” Thiem said. “I know that I won't beat these players every day. But it was a very good tournament.”
Thiem had been 3-0 in 2019 against Top 5 opposition entering his semi-final against Djokovic, including two victories against 101-time tour-level titlist Roger Federer. Defeating Djokovic wasn't outside the realm of possibility, too, given their match went to two tie-breaks. But the fifth seed was only able to convert three of his 10 break chances, while Djokovic broke at all three of his opportunities.
“To beat these players, Novak or Rafa, you need to have to have a little luck, this momentum going for you, and that was not the case today. Some break points for me were a little bit unlucky and some of them I missed, which I usually don't do,” Thiem said. “[In the] second set also, he played an unbelievable game. I broke him in a 15-minute game and he broke me back with an unbelievable game. That was also not the best for my momentum. In general, it was a good match and I cannot beat these guys every single time, so it's fine.”
It was almost as if Thiem brought out the best in Djokovic at the Caja Magica. There were moments when the 25-year-old’s aggression seemed it would overwhelm the Serbian, but Djokovic dug deep with incredible defence and returning.
“His level is always pretty high. I think, of course, today he played very good. I think if he would have played like this the previous tournaments, he wouldn't have these kind of bad results for him,” Thiem said of Djokovic, who had not advanced past the quarter-finals in his three tournaments before Madrid. “But I think the closer it comes to the Grand Slams, the better he'll play and we are pretty close to the French Open, so he's coming to his 100 per cent again.”
Thiem didn't wait long to shrug off the disappointment. He joined Argentine Diego Schwartzman on the doubles court shortly after his loss, as the friends beat Argentine Guido Pella and Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final.