Dominic Thiem proved himself a worthy loser on Sunday after his narrow defeat against Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open. The Austrian was close to his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, but lost in five sets.
32-year-old Djokovic won the Australian Open for the eighth time and secured his seventeenth Grand Slam title. The Serbian is getting closer and closer to record holder Roger Federer (20 titles) and Rafael Nadal (19).
“It is not normal what you have been showing for years,” Thiem told Djokovic at the award ceremony. “You and the other guests have brought tennis to a whole new level. I am very proud and happy that I can be competitive in this era. I was just short of it this time, but I hope I can take revenge soon.”
The victory of Djokovic also meant that the hegemony of ‘The Big Three’ remains intact. After the 2016 US Open won by Stan Wawrinka, all thirteen Grand Slam tournaments ended in favor of Federer, Nadal or Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic receives congratulations from Dominic Thiem. (Photo: Pro Shots)
“Are more important things than tennis”
Thiem was close to breaking that impressive series on Sunday, as the number five in the world took a 2-1 lead in sets. Djokovic fought back in the fourth act and had the longest breath in the deciding set.
The two finalists did not get enough out of the way, but also considered the natural violence that received a lot of attention, especially at the start of the Australian Open. Due to the heat, parts of Australia have been ravaged for months by forest fires, which have meanwhile killed 33 people and an estimated one billion animals.
“We have seen before and during the tournament that there are more important things in life than tennis,” Thiem emphasized during his speech. “We have seen what this beautiful country has endured. Hopefully everything will get better soon and something like that will never happen again.”