I wonder if Dominic Thiem has enough gas in the tank: Boris Becker
NEW DELHI: Looking towards the men's singles final of the Australian Open between Novak Djokovic & Dominic Thiem , former great tennis player Boris Becker reflected on the doubts about the Austrian's resistance, as he will address the game after eight hours of work against Rafael Nadal & Alexander Zverev .
In his column for the Times of India, Becker wrote, "The final is a wonderful opportunity for Dominic Thiem to announce himself to the tennis world with a grand slam win. However, he has two hurdles to cross. The first is the formidable opponent he has to overcome. Novak Djokovic is looking for a record eighth title & is yet to drop a set. His groundstrokes are as powerful as ever & he is looking frighteningly fit. The other hurdle is the question of his own stamina. He has played two back-to-back matches that have been long & intense, & would have taken a lot out of him. True, Thiem is young & has a day to recover, but whether it is enough remains to be seen."
Runner-up to Nadal at the last two French Opens, Thiem may lack the major trophies & aura of Djokovic's 'Big Three' rivals Nadal & Roger Federer . But what he does have is a ferocious one-handed backhand & the blue collar grit of three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka , one of the few men able to give Grand Slam Djokovic champion sleepless nights.
"Thiem has had an amazing tournament & his groundstrokes are incredibly powerful. He must also be relieved to have won against Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam & that will make him feel more confident in future encounters," Becker opined.
Thiem, the first Austrian player to reach the Melbourne decisive, fought against Zverev, seventh ranked 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) on a stifling night of Friday .
"A word about the semifinals. The Thiem- Alexander Zverev match-up was a vignette of what we will see in the coming years. Sascha, as I know him, played the worst tennis I have ever seen during his prep for the ATP finals. I had a quiet word with his father & was truly worried by what I had seen. To see him so magnificently transformed during the Australian Open proves he has worked hard & been focussed. Hopefully we will take the form forward. Zverev lost key games against Thiem & if he had not, he would have won the match," Becker added.
Roger Federer pulled off two breathtaking escapes in the earlier rounds in Melbourne. He was two points from defeat to John millman & saved seven match points against Tennys Sandgren in the quarterfinals. After a groin strain in the Sandgren game, rumors spread that Federer couldn't even take the court against Djokovic. He admitted that when he was playing he was risking the first retirement of his career.
"As for Roger Federer , get this: he has played 1512 matches in his career & never retired hurt. Kudos to him for coming out & playing even though he was far from fit. Even Djokovic seemed surprised to see how well Federer played at the start," Becker wrote.
Djokovic, the favorite favorite before the tournament, will bid for an eighth title that extends the record at Melbourne Park, as he did not surprise anyone with his commercial march in the draw.
"The stage is set for the final & I expect a great tussle if Thiem has enough gas in the tank. However, at this point I would say that Djokovic is the favourite to win," Becker signed off.