BENGALURU: Of the 16 singles titles Dominic Thiem has won so far, five came in 2019, making it his best year as a professional. It appears even more impressive when one looks at the trophies won by the Big Three. Novak Djokovic claimed five, while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal clinched four each.
Hence, 2020 was supposed to be a big year for World No 3, before COVID-19 brought everything to a halt. Before the pandemic, the Red Bull player featured in three tournaments, including the Australian Open, where he lost to Djokovic in the final, thus extending his search for a maiden Grand Slam.
The pandemic also led to the cancellations of French Open and Wimbledon. One does not know when the ATP Tour will resume. But Thiem is not losing sleep over the lack of clarity over future tournaments, as he is more concerned about the bigger picture.
“It’s totally okay for me because I’m trying to make the best of the situation. I don’t want to struggle with the situation because we’re all in the same boat. There are more important things now than tennis or anything else. It’s about people’s health. I’m just trying to deal with this period as positively as possible. What gives me strength is the time with my brother, my family and my dog. And, virtually with my friends. These are things that I usually don’t get around to. So, in that respect, I’m enjoying the time a bit,” Thiem told this daily.
The 26-year-old is said to have recently resumed light practicing after the Austrian government relaxed the lockdown. However, it will take some time for him to regain fitness.
In a way, Thiem can be considered lucky because Austria has been less affected compared to some other nations. There have been over 600 deaths, while Spain (26,000), Italy (29,000), UK (30,000) and France (25,000) have experienced much worse. These countries are home to some top players and host prestigious competitions.
“Of course, it (COVID-19) will have a massive impact on the remainder of my season. But that’s the same for everyone. It means everyone will have to adjust. We’ll have to wait and see when it starts again. I’ll work out with my team how we can optimally prepare for it and plan the rest of the season,” said Thiem.
Amidst all these, the world witnessed how sportspersons came together and helped people in dire need. The likes of Federer, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo among others have donated generously.
“I’m sure some positive things can be taken from a difficult time like this. I hope the society learns from this situation. We come to the conclusion that too much globalisation, if everything gets too big and too fast, is not good. Neither for the planet, for people themselves, nor for the environment. I hope in the future everything will settle down again to a normal level,” said Thiem, who courted controversy last month when he did not sound optimistic when talks of supporting lower-ranked players financially came up.