As we have said numerous times: we Beliem in Thiem, which means we can’t get enough of his tennis, of his humble and humbling genius, of his fight; and the appreciation of this tennis savant only grows with the small developments we’re seeing in his game along with runs like this at the 2018 U.S. Open.
In tonight’s QF epic v Nadal, we got a lot of the original, the BL monster who for much of the match kept the Spaniard at bay with the steady lumber from both sides, quite often threatening to hit the #1 in the world off the court. Really one of the better matches I’ve seen, truly a high level tennis with all kinds of narrative and championship panache.
In the end, however, this is an unmitigated disaster for Thiem. There’s really no two ways of looking at this. Rafa even said as much after the match; he felt deeply sorry for the Austrian. This is potentially tragic for Dominic and his camp. He was the better tennis player and played the better tennis throughout most of the match.
Don’t think of this as some kind of odd-ball take from Mcshow.
This is classic Rafa; he often wins these matches, out committing, out believing, and out grinding and grinding-out his opponent.
Tennis needed a younger talent like Thiem to win a match of this size. He really should have served-out the second set and perhaps finished even earlier, the victor. But this is Rafa ball, a giant bundle of tense, exhausting and cataclysmic failing, usually from his opponent.
There are no moral victories here. In fact, if your name is not Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, these opportunities are space-alien-sighting rare. This is career defining stuff. Go ask the handfuls of talented players who have absolutely nothing to show for their valiant efforts in this sport during this era.
Thiem will have more opportunities? We hope so too.
But we all know that players like Thiem have to win these kinds of matches.
Thiem needed this match a lot more than Nadal did.
Another one bites the dust. Watching all manners of youth and/or other surging athletes fall at the feet of the Big 3 over the last 5-6 years, especially tonight, is getting as enjoyable as an old anal fissure. As much as we will continue to appreciate and champion this Austrian’s tennis, this is a very sad moment for Thiem.
Makes the memory of one of the better matches I’ve seen in recent years stink.
Good luck to Thiem in his recovery, seriously.
What a talent — what a truly special tennis talent, who got turned away like the rest.
Nadal probably beats Del Potro. Why wouldn’t he?