Thiem: "It’s Going To Be Stuck In My Mind Forever"
Austrian star says he will take time to reflect on match
Last year, it was Juan Martin del Potro who clawed back two match points in the fourth round. At 2:04 a.m. local time on Wednesday, it was World No. 1 Rafael Nadal who savoured his own fifth-set victory.
“It’s going to be stuck in my mind forever,” said Thiem. “I'm going to remember this match, for sure. Tennis is cruel sometimes, because I think this match didn't really deserve a loser. But there has to be one.”
Thiem had recovered from 0/40 at 5-5 in the deciding set, then come within three points of winning the match at 5/4 in the tie-break. He won 171 total points to Nadal’s 165 in their first hard-court meeting, but it was the defending champion who triumphed 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(5) in four hours and 48 minutes.
Asked if he would learn anything from the epic encounter, Thiem admitted, “Not really. I would say the first really epic match I played. I played some good ones before, but not that long. Not that long against the great guys on the Grand Slam stage.
“I'm happy that I did this for the first time, even if it went the wrong way. Of course, now I'm devastated a little bit. But in a few days, I will look back and will remember how great it was to play in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium in this great match.”
Thiem will now look to step up his bid for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals for the third consecutive year. The 25-year-old is currently in eight position in the ATP Race To London just 85 points behind seventh-placed Kevin Anderson, who lost in the US Open fourth round.
He has a 42-15 match record on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles at the Argentina Open (d. Bedene) and the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon (d. Simon). He also reached the Mutua Madrid Open final (l. to Zverev) and his first Grand Slam championship final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).