Thiem: If I Drop My Level, Every Player Can Beat Me
World No. 4 Dominic Thiem is seeking home glory at tour-level for the first time this week at the Generali Open. Although he knows that his ATP Ranking makes him the top seed and, therefore, the favourite, the Austrian is taking nothing for granted.
“I will try everything to win the title, of course. I also know if I play my 100 per cent that my chances are pretty high,” Thiem said. “But at the same time, every single player in the main draw is that good that if I drop some per cent, they will all beat me. So it depends if I can play my top tennis and I will do everything to do so.”
There’s even more pressure on Thiem this week since he is playing in front of his home fans for the first time this season. The top seed has lost his opening match in Kitzbühel in each of his past two appearances (2016 & 2018), but he hopes to turn that around this year as he pursues his maiden title at the ATP 250 tournament.
“[It’s] very special. It doesn’t happen that often [that I play at home]. Only two home events unfortunately all year, but that makes it very special,” said Thiem, who made the 2014 Kitzbühel final. “I have so many nice memories from here, also some tough memories from which I learned, hopefully. It’s already my ninth time playing here. Such a long time ago I played here the first time… I can’t wait to start again.”
In the second round, Thiem — who has a first-round bye — will play a countryman in wild card Sebastian Ofner or qualifier Lucas Miedler, guaranteeing that a home favourite will advance to the quarter-finals. An Austrian has not lifted the singles trophy in Kitzbühel since Thomas Muster in 1993.
“It’s very important. I’m playing an Austrian for sure in the second round, which is very good for Austrian tennis,” Thiem said. “I think for all the region here and for Austrian tennis, the tournament is super-important.”
It has been a strong season for Thiem, who won his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open before reaching his second consecutive Roland Garros final in Paris. The 25-year-old also won an ATP 500 title in Barcelona.
“I think it’s my best season so far, especially Indian Wells and Roland Garros were amazing,” Thiem said. “But that’s the past, and I’m fully ready for the second part of the season and I hope to get off to a great start here.”
The grass-court season was a short one for Thiem, whose lone match on the surface this year came in an opening-round loss against Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. But after getting his feet dirty on the Hamburg clay last week, advancing to the quarter-finals, the nine-time clay-court ATP Tour champion is ready to begin another surge this week in Austria.
“I’m physically very fresh, mentally very ready. I didn’t have so many matches in the past six or seven weeks,” Thiem said. “I’m really fresh and ready for everything that’s coming.”