It was a historic occasion for both of them! Whoever out of Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev would have won the US Open 2020, he would have made history. It ended up being Thiem. The Austrian not only won his first Grand Slam title, he did it from two sets down and became the first man after 71 years and first in Open Era to complete that kind of comeback at Flushing Meadows.
It was a cagey affair throughout with both Thiem and Zverev feeling the nerves of the big stage. The world No. 3 Thiem was the favourite ahead of the final but he seemed to have blown his chance when Zverev went two sets up. Zverev came out firing in the final while Thiem was the one misfiring and just like that, the German was just a set away from his first Grand Slam title. It was, however, not to be.
Thiem roared back, slowly and steadily found his range and rhythm back and by the end, was finding those massive forehands and gorgeous backhands. However, it wasn’t that simple. Zverev was serving for the championship in the deciding set but was broken back. Then Thiem was serving for the title and he was broken back too. Thiem then had two championship points on his racquets but blew it and it needed a third one for him to realise his dream.
When the two then met at the net, both exhausted and tired but feeling completely opposite emotions, they exchanged a unique shakehand. Then Zverev hugged Thiem, exchanging words, to put their friendship in full display.
¡DOS GRANDES QUE MERECÍAN SU PRIMER GRAND SLAM!Hoy llegó el primero para Dominic Thiem pero no tenemos dudas que también llegará para Sascha Zverev.¡Nuestro respeto para estos dos grandes campeones!#USOpen @doublefault28pic.twitter.com/yFILQlkzAx— Tiempo De Tenis (@Tiempodetenis1) September 14, 2020
Afterwards when the two sat on the bench waiting for the presentation ceremony, they had the looks polar opposite. Zverev sat solemn, unable to believe that he blew that golden chance away while Thiem sat on his bench smiling and laughing, unable to believe that he had finally won a Grand Slam title.
At the presentation ceremony, as they both addressed each other, their camaraderie was there for everyone to see. While Zverev chose to fight his tears and make a little joke about how he wished Thiem would have missed more, Thiem remembered how their friendship began and chose to bare his heart out.
“First of all I want to congratulate Dominic on the first of many Grand Slam titles. I think this is not the only one. It was a tough battle and I wish you would have missed a bit more so I could have held that trophy up but here I am giving the runners-up speech," Zverev said before he broke down in tears speaking about his parents.
Thiem made Zverev remember what he had told him in the Madrid Open final in 2018, when the German won in straight sets, and said, “I tell you the same here today." Thiem said he wished there could be two winners.
“We started to know each other back in 2014. I think we were both ranked somewhere close to 100 or something, and there developed straightaway great friendship. And then 2016 I think our great rivalry started again and we made great things happen on the court as well as off the court. It’s amazing how far our journey progressed together to share this moment with you. Really I wish we could have two winners today, I think we deserved it.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 14, 2020
“But remember when we played Madrid finals, you told me I’m gonna make it, I’m gonna win this title, and I tell you the same here today. You’re gonna make it 100 percent, you’re gonna make your parents proud, you family proud, all at home," Thiem expressed.