Does Thiem have a Chance?
Yes! Dominic Thiem will pose the toughest match Novak Djokovic will face in his 7 matches in Melbourne. Thiem looks to be physically and mentally ready to take his first major title. Many factors make me think he is going to win this match. Here are a few:
- He beat the world #1 and his nemesis in his first two career major finals in the quarterfinal round
- He is hitting the ball with great authority and the player who has historically troubled Novak Djokovic the most in Australia is Stan Wawrinka. Thiem can take control of points with paralyzing power even on a slower hard court.
- Thiem also seems to be taking the ball earlier than he used to on hard courts.
- Thiem beat Djokovic 7-5 in the 5th set of their 2019 Roland Garros semifinal match. Thiem won their most recent match on a hard court last November in London as well.
Why Djokovic will Win(?)
I could give reasons surrounding Djokovic’s impregnable defense, flexibility, speed, return of serve, and virtuoso counter-punching. Those all factor in, but Thiem may have counter-arguments for all of those points in Nole’s favor. The biggest reason I think Djokovic wins is that he is 7-0 in Australian Open finals. Djokovic has blitzed opponents and has won absolute wars in Melbourne. He has beaten Stan Wawrinka two of three times in five-set conflagrations. He has beaten Nadal in a 2012 marathon and in a 2019 sprint. He has dominated Andy Murray 5-0 winning every match on a surface that should be Murray’s best. Djokovic is 4-1 vs. Roger Federer at the Australian Open with his sole loss coming in 2007.
Being 13-2 at the Australian Open against his biggest rivals with one of those losses coming in 2007 makes me think that until someone proves otherwise that Novak Djokovic is THE MAN in Australia. Thiem can prove otherwise, but there is little that can be said until he does. For now, Djokovic owns the Australian Open, and as far as I can tell he has not hired a real estate agent.