As the 2020 US Open recently got going, players are finding it strange to play under bizarre conditions. However, the games are going on in full flow, and 27-year-old Dominic Thiem has set up a juicy third-round clash against Marin Cilic.
Ahead of the game, Thiem shared his views on his experienced opponent, who conquered the US Open in 2014!
Amid all the controversies surrounding the glorious tournament, the organizers are aiming towards a quick wrap-up. A third-round clash between the Croatian and Thiem is bound to be entertaining, and the latter has immense respect for his 31-year-old opponent.
In his post-game press conference from Round 2, the media enquired about Thiem’s thoughts on facing Cilic in the third-round. Here’s how he responded:
“He’s one of the big champions of the last decade, one of the very few players, active players, who won a Grand Slam tournament here in New York, of course, as everybody knows,” Thiem said.
Moreover, the 2019 Roland-Garros finalist recognized the massive achievements accumulated by Cilic, which undeniably make him one of the best in the biz. Thiem feels tennis fans often underestimate Cilic as a player, but his records speak volumes.
“I mean, not from the players, but from outside perspective, he’s underrated because he achieved almost everything what you can achieve as a tennis player: Grand Slam champion, Masters 1000 champion, played two other finals in a Grand Slam.
“As I said, definitely one of the best players of the last decade, true champion,” Thiem added.
Marin Cilic did not enjoy an easy path to the third round. He faced a challenging opponent in the first round, having to endure five sets against the 28-year-old Denis Kudla. After a fairly easy second round, the #31 seed set-up a clash against Dominic Thiem.
As far as Thiem is concerned, he knows that fans bill him to take the victory. But it won’t be a walk in the park. Thiem enjoys a 2-0 H2H record over Cilic in ATP tourneys, but the upcoming clash might be the most challenging one of them all.
“Even though for sure he’s not on the top of his game, beginning of this year, maybe also last year, he’s always dangerous for a big and deep run in these big tournaments. It’s not a guy I want to face in the third round as he’s a former champion.
“On a good day he can beat anybody. Going to be a real tough one,” Thiem said.
It will certainly be a strange feeling to play in an empty court, without fans to cheer you on. However, the job has to be done regardless of the fans’ attendance.
For Dominic Thiem, the challenge will be to get past the quarterfinals this year. He’s never gone past the last eight in the Flushing Meadows, which is a major blot on his career.
Who are you backing in this one? Thiem or Cilic?