Dominic Thiem, US Open 2020 champion is currently quarantining in Adelaide away from his peers in Melbourne. As part of an exhibition event that will be held in Adelaide on January 29, the top three male and female ranked players alongside Serena Williams and their respective hitting partners will quarantine in Adelaide. However, things are not looking good for a few players in Melbourne who have subjected to 14 days to hard quarantine.
Dominic Thiem believes that there is no longer a level playing field at the Australian Open because of the hard quarantine imposed on 72 players. In a recent interview, the Austrian stated that despite training in their rooms, the players are ought to lose their pre-season fitness levels and will struggle to maintain their shape.
“I think it’s clear that there’s a complete inequality of opportunity,” Dominic Thiem said. “All players are fresh out of their pre-season, they are in really good shape and have top fitness. If you can’t leave your room for 14 days, it doesn’t matter how much fitness you do in the room, a lot of it just goes away,” he said.
It’s very, very bitter and very, very unfortunate: Thiem on hard quarantine
Dominic Thiem stated that the players were aware of the risks before arriving in Melbourne but lamented the fact that the 72 players will just get nine days to prepare for the Australian Open which commences on February 8.
“But that’s the risk we all took,” he added. “It’s very, very bitter and very, very unfortunate. For all other players in Melbourne, I think it’s okay, they can train as it was planned. And unfortunately, those who are in hard quarantine will have nine days before the start of the Australian Open,” the Austrian said.
The Austrian also added that he has gotten himself accustomed to the bubble life after his previous experiences. “It (life in quarantine) felt like a big change at the US Open, because it was the first tournament with a bubble. But since then there was Paris, Vienna and London. The situation in Australia isn’t much worse,” he added.
My biggest goal is the French Open: Thiem
Dominic Thiem asserted that his main goal is to win the French Open. The Austrian finished as the runner-up at two editions of Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, losing to Rafael Nadal in the finals on both occasions.
“My biggest goal is the French Open,” Thiem said. “It’s always been the case this past few years. Because it remains the tournament I like the most and where the conditions suit me best. I played the final in 2011 as a junior. From that moment it became the tournament that I always wanted to win,” he said.
Dominic Thiem heaped praise on Rafael Nadal who has beaten him four times at Roland Garros in 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The Austrian admitted that he has very little confidence beating Nadal at the French Open.
“He (Rafael Nadal) is a class of his own and I don’t know if I trust myself to do it,” Thiem added. “I never managed to beat him there. At other tournaments, I’m confident because I’ve already done it but beating him on his center-court is probably one of the hardest challenge in sport,” Thiem said.
“Only two players have managed to defeat him in 16 years which is an insane statistic. I think that he will still be the undisputed favorite and the strongest player in Paris for another year or two,” he concluded.