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Thiem: 'In Near Future, More Players Outside Of Big 3 Will Win A Slam'

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Dominic Thiem believes that it’s only going to be a matter of time before more players outside of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic start to win major titles.

“The Grand Slams are still dominated by the Big 3,” said Thiem, the 2020 US Open titlist, ahead of the start of his Internazionali BNL d'Italia campaign. “It's way tougher to beat them, to win three sets against them, it's way more difficult of course than to win two [sets]. That's one of the big reasons. But we have a lot of finals already in Grand Slam tournaments. I think in the near future it's also going to happen that somebody else is going to win them.

“I also think a lot of people underestimate the time and the era we are playing in, with by far the three best players in the history of the game. I think it's more than clear that it's incredibly tough to win Grand Slam tournaments, having to beat two of them most of the time.”

Federer and Nadal have each won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, while World No. 1 Djokovic has captured 18 major crowns, including the Australian Open in February. Djokovic has lifted a record 36 ATP Masters 1000 trophies, closely followed by Nadal (35) and Federer (28).

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The World No. 4, who returned to the ATP Tour last week and reached the Mutua Madrid Open semi-finals (l. to eventual Zverev), is happy with his form ahead of his first match in Rome against Hungary's Marton Fucsovics.

“It’s always a great experience playing in Madrid,” said Thiem. “I love that tournament. Health-wise everything is fine. Before Madrid, I had like two-and-a-half, three weeks really tough practice, so I got used to it again. also got blisters on [my] hand. That's why I [had] taping… Beside that, everything is fine. The knee, which was causing me trouble in the preparation [to the tournament], is pain-free. Everything is good. Also, I recovered quite well after the four matches.

“I always had some kind of little troubles here after coming from Madrid. Luckily, I was always playing well in Madrid, so didn't have so much time to prepare. It's from altitude to sea level. I think it's a different type of clay, as well. Way slower, obviously. So completely different conditions. I hope that I can do better than the last two times I played here. I lost my first match both times.”


The 27-year-old has competed on five previous occasions at the Foro Italico in Rome (8-5 match record), with his best result coming in 2017 with a run to the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic).

“The pressure is always the same,” said Thiem. “When I step on court, I want to win the match. There are going to be lots of close calls, close situations. I'm always going to be nervous. That's how it's going to be until the end of my career. But still the break was really good.”
 
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