Dominic Thiem admits he felt “empty” after exiting the French Open at the hands of Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals but the Austrian is already looking forward to getting back to that stage at a major soon.
Projected to crack the top-10 for the first time on Monday, Thiem has created waves this season on tour, and has amassed the second-most number of victories in 2016 – 41, just two wins behind leader Djokovic.
“Novak was just too strong today. That’s all I can say,” said Thiem on Friday after his semi-final in Paris.
“But still it inspires me to even work harder. I hope I get a new chance soon in the future.
“Right now I’m feeling empty, of course, but it’s normal. It’s after every tournament like this, all the pressure goes away a little bit.
“Of course also a little bit disappointment.”
Thiem will rise to No7 in the world when the new rankings come out in two days, and at 22, will be the youngest player in the top-10.
“It’s very nice. It’s a big milestone, I think, for every tennis player to break into the top-10. But, yeah, right now I’m not really happy about it, but I hope that I can be when I see the new ranking on Monday,” he said.
Thiem has so far proven to be the most successful prospect from the up-and-coming generation in tennis, and is expected to have a bright future in the sport.
He has four top-10 victories under his belt, owns six ATP titles and is now a grand slam semi-finalist.
Clay is his best surface and he leads the tour in number of wins on the red dirt this season with 25.
Asked how far he felt his level was from Djokovic after the match, Thiem said: “Well, I think he played really well today, but I also think that sometimes – or mostly throughout the match – I made it maybe a little bit too easy for him, too many mistakes.
“But, yeah, it’s tough against him. He doesn’t give you any presents. Return is unbelievable. It was already the problem yesterday that I didn’t get any free points with the serve.
“Yeah, then if you have to play basically every game without serve, without the advantage of serve, it’s going to be unbelievably tough against him.”
Djokovic heaped praise on the young Austrian yesterday and believes he will be sticking around at the top.
“He carries himself very well on and off the court for his age,” said Djokovic.
“He’s a leader of a new generation, very powerful, and has a lot of strength and variety in his game. I managed to handle his heavy spin very well today, but I’m sure that, as I told him after the match, we’re going to see a lot of him in the future if he continues doing so well.”
In the three-week period between the French Open and Wimbledon, Thiem is scheduled to play in the grass events in Stuttgart and Halle before heading to Mallorca to play in the Toni Nadal Cup exhibition.