“Not surprised, I’m impressed” Dominic Thiem believes Rafael Nadal ‘deserved’ winning the 2022 Australian Open
Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal‘s historic night in Melbourne Park on 30th January, when he defeated World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the 2022 Australian Open will indeed go down as one of the important dates in the sport. Not only did Nadal become the first man ever to win 21 Grand Slam titles, but he also scripted one of the greatest comebacks of tennis and that too in the second-longest Grand Slam final of all time.
Nadal’s road to the title however was not easy and that does not include just the opponents he defeated on his way to claim the title. The Spaniard was returning to Grand Slam action for the first time since June 2021 when he was defeated in the semi-finals of the 2021 French Open where he also injured his foot and practically ended his season as he could play only 2 more matches after the French Open.
Rafa arrived in Spain having just recovered from Covid and was physically not in a place where he would have wanted. Knowing all these difficulties and challenges, the victory for the 35-year old who waited for 13 years to win his second Australian Open title was really special and former US Open champion Dominic Thiem could not agree anymore with the wonderful win of the Spaniard.
“I’m not surprised, I’m impressed. It is simply impressive. He is definitely one of the greatest sportsmen of all time. This comeback against Daniil Medvedev must have been special for him. I am super happy for him. He’s a good guy, a super athlete, he deserves it,” said Thiem during his recent interview with ESPN.
Rafael Nadal to return later this month, Dominic Thiem still out
Thiem came very close to returning to the court with the Austrian being scheduled to play at the 2022 Cordoba Open in Argentina. However, due to fitness issues that were not related to his wrist injury that had ruled him out since June 2021, Thiem is set for another spell on the sidelines.
Thiem had a busy February planned but has decided to withdraw from all the tournaments and might return only in March at the Indian Wells Masters with his ranking expected to take another big dent with his current rank already 37th after he fell 21 places after the rankings were updated post the conclusion of the Australian Open.
As for Nadal, he is targeting a return at the ATP-500 Acapulco Open 2022 but only if his body is ready and his medical team advises him to go ahead as he has already made clear that he will not be forcing his body to participate in tournaments every week and he will plan his season accordingly.