Thiem's 2020 vision - a new Major champion

SYDNEY • World No. 4 Dominic Thiem yesterday expressed confidence that a new Grand Slam champion outside Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will be crowned this year.

While the Austrian, Germany's Alexander Zverev, Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and others have had success at lesser tournaments, the big guns continue to dominate the Majors.

Thiem, in Sydney for the inaugural ATP Cup team event, is one of the men tipped to make the breakthrough, with the first Slam of the year, the Australian Open, just weeks away in Melbourne.

He said the younger players were getting close.

"I think we challenged them already a lot. We also beat them especially on Masters 1000 stages and the ATP Finals," said the 26-year-old, runner-up to Tsitsipas, 21, at the ATP Finals in November.

"I think the last stage we have to conquer is the Grand Slam stage, and I really think we'll see a new Grand Slam champion in 2020.

"I really hope that it's me. There are also many other very strong guys who can achieve that.

"Maybe it's also not happening and big three are taking all four. But we are trying everything to achieve top position, the biggest titles, Grand Slam titles."

Thiem won five titles last year at Indian Wells, Barcelona, Kitzbuhel, Beijing and Vienna. But he had a mixed time at the Majors.

He fell at the first hurdle at Wimbledon and the US Open and in the second round in Australia, but made the French Open final - as he did in 2018 - only to lose to Nadal.

"I was really happy how my game developed, especially in the last part of the season in 2019," he said. "So I just tried to improve that, to practise and keep improving the things which were going well and then add some new things to my game."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2020, with the headline 'Thiem's 2020 vision - a new Major champion'. Print Edition | Subscribe