Tennis star Dominic Thiem won his first-ever Grand Slam title on Sunday, after a thrilling five-set victory over Alexander Zverev that capped off a 2020 U.S. Open tournament like no other.
"It feels great," Thiem told Cheddar from Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday. "What happened last night was a match that had everything [including] huge, huge drama at the end. I think it was a super great finals."
After losing the first two sets to 23-year-old German phenom Zverev, Thiem battled back to win the next two sets and, ultimately, close out the fifth set in a tiebreaker.
Adjusting to playing in a pandemic, Thiem admitted that taking the court without fans in the stands was a "little bit sad."
"Fans just give amazing energy to us," he continued. "It's one of the nicest things an athlete can experience…to enjoy an atmosphere of 23,000 people in this nice Arthur Ashe Stadium, but it is what it is."
This victory is the first Grand Slam title won by any men's player that isn't named Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Novak Djokovic since 2016, ending a dominant streak of 13 straight tournaments.
While Federer and Nadal chose to skip the tournament over coronavirus concerns, Djokovic was ejected from the U.S. Open when he inadvertently struck a lineswoman after hitting a ball in frustration towards the fence. He later profusely apologized for the incident.
"I think it's very good for men's tennis if there are fresh faces in the winning list of majors," Thiem said. "Younger players like us, I think we really have the potential to continue the story of what Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic started."
As for the celebration, the 27-year-old Austrian says he plans to fly back to Vienna to have a "big party" with family and friends, before looking ahead to the French Open set to begin on September 21.
"The French Open is one of my favorite tournaments," Thiem said, knowing the big three will be there to greet him. "Already now, I'm super pumped to play there."