Despite winning the opening set, Dominic Thiem lost an epic three-set encounter to Daniil Medvedev in the final of the ATP World TournFinals. It was Thiem’s second consecutive loss at the final of the season-ending championships, having lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2019 final.

Interestingly, Thiem and Medvedev became the first players since Roger Federer in 2010 to defeat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same edition of the ATP Nitto Finals. After the heartbreaking loss, Thiem reflected on the exhilarating match and admitted that Medvedev was the best player of the tournament.

Dominic Theim
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – Russia’s Daniil Medvedev shakes hands with Austria’s Dominic Thiem as he celebrates winning their final match REUTERS/Toby Melville

“Probably if you look at the whole tournament, he was the best player. He didn’t lose a set in the group stage. Beat No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world in the semis and in the final, so he definitely deserved that title,” said Thiem, during a post-match conference.

The Russian remained unbeaten throughout the ATP Nitto Finals and won all his group stage matches in straight sets. Following his triumph at the Rolex Paris Masters earlier this month, Medvedev is riding a 10-match winning streak and became the first man to beat all the top three players in the world at the season finale.

Dominic Thiem reflects on 2020 season

Despite the truncated tennis season and the hardships faced because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been Dominic Thiem’s most successful year on the tour. The Austrian achieved his lifetime dream of winning his first Grand Slam at the 2020 US Open.

Dominic Thiem at ATP Finals 2020
Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – Austria’s Dominic Thiem reacts during his semi-final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

“If I speak about the tennis, if I speak about my job, I mean, it has been an outstanding year. I have reached one of my big lifetime goals with winning that Grand Slam. So even though it’s a tough year, it will always have a special place in my heart this year, 100%,” remarked Thiem.

The World No.3 reached the finals of the Australian Open, but unfortunately lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets. In the US Open final, Thiem stared at the brink of defeat after losing the opening two sets to Alexander Zverev. However, Thiem waged a valiant comeback to win three back-to-back sets to clinch his maiden Grand Slam title.

Having reached a career-high ranking of No.3 in March this year, Thiem seems determined to narrow the rankings gap between him and the world’s top two players. The Austrian vowed to climb up the rankings next year and believes that he can achieve it by replicating his present form.

“It was still a very intense year, since the Tour returned [it] was super intense, so I haven’t set myself any goals yet for next year. But of course I want to climb up the Rankings,” said Thiem.

Notably, the 12-year love affair with the O2 arena in London ended with the 2020 season. Next year, the ATP Nitto Finals will move to Turin in Italy, which will host the tournament for the next five years.