Tennis

Dominic Thiem makes Olympic U-turn, wins 2020 ATP Finals opener

US Open champion says he now wants to play at Tokyo 2020 as the tournament no longer clashes with Kitzbuhel Open

By Rory Jiwani ·

U.S. Open Tennis champion Dominic Thiem has revealed he now wants to play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

Journalist Nikolaus Fink reported the Austrian's change of heart as he spoke ahead of the ATP Finals which got underway on Sunday at London's O2 Arena.

The 27-year-old had originally intended to skip the Tokyo Games in 2020 to contest the ATP 250 Kitzbuhel Open in his home country.

But the postponement of the Games to 2021 means he will be free to play, with Kitzbuhel now taking place a week before the Games.

Thiem admitted it would be "a dream" to compete at the Olympic Games.

Thiem, who claimed his first Grand Slam title in September, missed Rio 2016 due to concerns over the Zika virus.

Fink also reported that the dramatic Rio final between Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, where Murray retained his Olympic title in four sets, help persuade Thiem to make his decision.

He said, "I saw the emotions of Murray and del Potro. Maybe I can play three Olympic Games' in my career."

In his opening match of the men's season-ending ATP Finals on Sunday, Thiem got the better of Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.

It was a repeat of last year's final which the Greek won in a final set tie-breaker.

Dominic Thiem joins the elite

Before Thiem, Austria's sole Grand Slam winner was Thomas Muster who won the French Open back in 1995.

Like Muster, Thiem had been seen as a clay-court specialist but shook off that tag last year in emphatic fashion.

He claimed his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells on hard courts, beating Roger Federer in three sets in the final.

Soon after that he made a coaching change, ending his working relationship of 15 years with Gunter Bresnik to work under Nicolas Massu, an Olympic champion in singles and doubles at Athens 2004.

He then lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open for the second year running before going down to Novak Djokovic in this year's Australian Open final.

With Nadal and Federer absent, and Djokovic defaulted for hitting a line judge with a ball, Thiem took advantage to take the US Open in New York and become his country's first Slam winner for 25 years.

Those exertions told at Roland Garros where he lost in the quarter-finals to Argentina's Diego Schwartzman.

And coach Massu believes his "intensity" allied to his talent make him a potential likely successor to tennis's Big Three.