Novak A Level Above Rest of Us

Dominic Thiem can’t defend his US Open title this week, but has a clear view on top US Open contenders.

The 2020 US Open champion, who was forced to pull the plug on his season after suffering a right wrist injury, appeared as guest analyst on Tennis Channel’s TC Live before first ball was struck at the US Open today.

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Thiem tabs world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the clear favorite to win his fourth US Open crown, complete the calendar Grand Slam and collect his record 21st Grand Slam title.

“[Novak is] under so much pressure but he’s shown so many times beforethat if there’s a big chance, he barely misses it,” Thiem told Tennis Channel’s Lindsay Davenport, Jon Wertheim and Steve Weissman. “So he’s definitely the biggest favorite for the title. I guess behind him there are three players—Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev—who are playing amazing, who are on fire. Especially Sascha with the Olympic gold medal and title in Cincinnati. They can beat him on any given day, I guess.

“Still, he’s one level higher than the rest of us—or the rest of him—if I would have to bet, I would bet on him.”

If the world No. 1 falters, Thiem cites 2019 US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev as the man most likely to break through and win a maiden major.

“Medvedev because he has a little advantage, he played two Slam finals,” Thiem told Tennis Channel. “I can speak for myself: Each Slam final even if you lose it, it’s very hard, but it’s still such a big experience and such an important experience. It’s gonna help you in the next one.

“The other two, Stefanos and Sascha, they played one Grand Slam final so it’s a little bit of an advantage Daniil has.”

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Two-time Roland Garros runner-up Thiem selects Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz as his US Open dark horse.

“Carlos Alcaraz still so young and I love his game style though he has a super tough first round against Cam Norrie,” Thiem said.

Photo credit: Pete Staples/US Open