Could Dominic Thiem make history at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships? The 27-year-old is the second-highest ranked tennis player in Austrian history behind former world No 1 Thomas Muster. And when DDFTC’s ATP tournament kicks off on March 13, Thiem could very well be on his way to becoming the first Austrian to lift the trophy in Dubai since Muster himself achieved the same in 1997.
Thiem, who won the US Open last year after defeating Alexander Zverev, will head to the tournament as top seed. The player, who reached the final of the French Open in 2018 and 2019, as well as the 2020 Australian Open, recently made it to the finals of the ATP Tour Finals two seasons in a row.
Last time Thiem was in Dubai was in 2015, however, where he only lasted one round.
“Dominic Thiem has already proven that he is worthy to be named alongside Thomas Muster as one of the greatest tennis players that Austria has produced,” said Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
“His results, particularly over the past two seasons, have often been spectacular, and we very much look forward to welcoming him back to Dubai," he added.
Last year, Thiem claimed his 17th career title in a fifth tie-break. It was the first time in the tournament’s Open era history that any player had recovered from losing the opening two sets to claim victory – and the first time that the champion was determined by a tie-break.
It was Thiem’s maiden Grand Slam after he lost in three tennis majors finals.
“Definitely I achieved a life goal, a dream for myself, which I had for many, many years,” he said after the final.
“Of course, as a kid when I started to play tennis, back then, it’s so far away. Then I got closer and closer to the top. At one point I realised that, ‘Wow, maybe one day I can really win one of the four biggest titles in tennis’. I put a lot of work in. I dedicated basically my whole life until this point to win one of the four majors. Now I did it. That’s also for myself a great accomplishment," he added.
The DDFTC ATP schedule begins on March 13, after what’s sure to be an exciting WTA1000 week (March 6-March 13). The ATP final is set to take place on March 20.
“Excitement is mounting as we come closer and closer to two weeks of great tennis that is certain to produce many thrills and upsets,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak.
“Dominic Thiem is such an exciting player to watch and will definitely start as one of the favourites for the title, but success is never guaranteed and he faces a formidable challenge," he added.
Other players to expect at the tournament include the five-time 2020 title-winner, Aundrey Rubley, three-time Grand Slam Champion Stan Wawrinka and 2020 Us Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta, among others.