Dominic Thiem is one unlucky man. A monstrous presence on the court, the Austrian is surely on the verge of breaking into the Grand Slam club. He had to settle for a third runners-up medal on Sunday, this time to Novak Djokovic.
The three times he has been on the biggest stage, he has faced seasoned champions at their best arenas.
Thiem still managed to come ever so close to doing it. He was the heavy favourite at one point in the match. Had it been anyone other than the Serb in the Australian Open final, Thiem would probably have taken home the big prize.
The nature of his loss to Djokovic must mean it hurts the most. And yet, Thiem has not lost heart over his latest Grand Slam disappointment.
With a demeanour worthy of a champion, Thiem accepted his defeat with grace. But he also accepted it as a lesson, something to build on for future aspirations. Instead of despair, he left with belief in his ability.
Asked what he took from away from this tournament. His response exuded belief in himself.
“The finals tonight was a great match, it was very small details which decided it. And then also the way I kept my level, the way I kept my tension over the two weeks. Because I didn’t have easy matches, especially from the quarters on.”
“Beating Rafa over four hours and two days later going back out again against Sascha. Unbelievably intense, close match. And then again two days later going out against Novak, who won the most titles here, and again playing at a very high level.”
“So I’m really aware and sure now that I can play on a very high level for a full Grand Slam. Didn’t have any drops, and that doesn’t make me proud but makes me very confident for the next big tournaments coming up.”
Make no mistake about it, the Austrian is learning quickly and is only so far away from finally capturing a Slam.