Curtain up for Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals in London: For the fourth time in a row, Austria's tennis star has qualified for the crowning season finale with the best eight players of the year. This year for the first time should not be the end of the group after the group stage. Important will be a solid start. Well noted against none other than the "Maestro".
On Sunday (9pm, ServusTV and Sky), the first of three "giants" (alongside Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini) will face Roger Federer (38) in the O2 arena. A crystal clear favorite does not exist in this duel, even if the Swiss has already won 20 Grand Slam titles. Twelve years younger Thiem (26) is still waiting for his first.
"One of the greatest legends"
This discrepancy inspires respect, but certainly not fear. Why? Thiem has a positive record against Federer, this year with two wins (in the Indian Wells final and Madrid semi-final) in the head-to-head to 4: 2. However, a year ago there was a clash at the ATP Finals, then King Roger, who was already six times unofficial "World Champion", Thiem had no chance at 6: 3, 6: 2.
Now the "Dominator" wants to be one step further. "In the past few years, I've been happy that I ended up in the top eight, and then I did not look at the results that much, this is definitely different this year," says Thiem.
With Federer it connects something like a friendship – if it exists at all on the bone-hard ATP tour. The two won the Laver Cup in Geneva with the "Team Europa" in September, when they talk about each other, the highest esteem prevails. "Dominic can become number one in the world, I like him as a player and, above all, as a human," Federer once said of Thiem, who reciprocates the compliments with a tenderly soft return. "Roger is so elegant and one of the greatest legends of all time, I can learn so much from him." (Alex)
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