2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem feels Carlos Alcaraz has already had “a unique career” and the rest have to “catch up.” Alcaraz, 19, became a Grand Slam champion after beating Casper Ruud in this year’s US Open final.

By beating Ruud in the final, Alcaraz also overtook Daniil Medvedev at No 1 and became the youngest top-ranked male player in tennis history. “He already has a unique career. He is the youngest number one in history and winner of the US Open as a teenager, exceptional.

He is about to change tennis, because in New York, no matter how long the matches went on, he was there the whole time, playing offense, going to the net and contesting every point without fear. And I think this is new. Nobody did that before.

We must catch up,” Thiem told AS.

Thiem drawing inspiration from Rafael Nadal

Nadal, who was limited to just one tournament in the second part of the 2021 season, returned this year by winning back-to-back titles at the Australian Open and French Open.

Thiem, who returned to tennis in late March from a 10-month absence, is still hoping he rediscovers his best tennis and becomes again a strong force in the game. “He [Rafael Nadal] is probably the best role model for this experience.

He did it not just once but four or five times to come back from a long injury time of six months or even more. And the form was always amazing. So it’s a great inspiration,” Thiem said. Thiem is a four-time Grand Slam finalist and he has one Major title.

Thiem, 29, says he is still playing because he feels he can again be a Grand Slam contender. “I have the belief that I can win a Grand Slam again. If not, I would give up my career. I went through bad times but I would have the feeling that I am getting closer to my best version,” Thiem added.

This week, Thiem is playing at the Girona Open, where he has been through to the quarterfinal and plays next Francisco Cerundolo.

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