“The match was certainly not ideal.” Thiem takes a look back: just over a year ago, he met Alex Bolt in the second round in Melbourne. He wobbled but didn’t fall, prevailing in five sets. With just over three hours of playing time, the match was not a marathon, yet the Lower Austrian could have saved his energy.
It was different in 2021. Against the number 70 in the world, Koepfer, Thiem initially “located a tough match, he came out really hot”. There were many close games, in the sixth of the first set Thiem had to fend off two breakpoints. Right after that, he managed to take the serve from Koepfer for 4:3. “That’s when I released the handbrake and from that moment on everything went,” Thiem said. “Then everything I did work out and in the end, it was a super performance.”
He continued, “I found really good timing for the first time. I knew again where to return and improved the court position a lot.”
Thiem against Kyrgios – and his fans
On Friday he will face Nick Kyrgios in the third round, it will be his 100th match at a Grand Slam. The Australian made up a 1:2 deficit, cheered on by many loud Australian fans, and beat Ugo Humbert in five sets.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 10, 2021
Kyrgios is “an opponent you never need,” Thiem said. “If he wants and has a good day, he can beat everybody. He’s always really unpleasant because he serves well and always plays well with the crowd behind him, too.”
Admittedly, Thiem will know the crowd is more against him in his next match. Thiem is looking forward to playing in front of fans again. But he considers it unlikely that the same will soon be the case in Europe. “I think it’s much harder to host events in Europe or the States because the situation is not so good there,” he said. “I think we’ll have to wait longer before they allow fans there again.”