After the Chelsea frustration Federer is to pay

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A first disappointment had to take already Dominic Thiem in London. Self-inflicted, as he admits. The big Chelsea fan missed the spectacular Champions League game at Stamford Bridge against Ajax Amsterdam (4: 4) – in contrast to German Alexander Zverev. "That was so stupid," annoyed Thiem, who arrived in London on Wednesday. "A misfire in planning, maybe they could have won with me."

As a consolation, the Austrian now wants to beat Roger Federer on Sunday (21.00 clock). It would be the third time this year for Indian Wells and Madrid. In the Spanish capital, Thiem fought off two match points from the Swiss. The overall balance is negative with 2: 4 from Federer's point of view.

No wonder Thiem reveals in London that he "loves to play" against the 38-year-old from Basel. It was at the two victories this year, both of which were very close, "also a bit of luck" been there. But nothing has to do with luck but the progress of the former sand specialist on hard court, especially since the change from his long-term coach Gunter Bresnik to Chilean Nicolas Massu.

Thiem warns before the first group game on Sunday nevertheless. "In Indian Wells and on sand, it's better for me because these rubbers are better for the spin, but less so in the shed because the ground is faster." Like Federer, Thiem describes the conditions in the O2 Arena as pretty fast.

In three attempts, the 26-year-old from Lower Austria has never made it past the group matches at the ATP Finals. With Federer and Novak Djokovic in the group this will not be easy this year either. Thiem believes in his chance. "I was able to develop my game well and believe that I can hurt him (Federer) here, too."

The Austrian has a good chance to finish a year in the top five for the second time in his career. However, the biggest highlights for him were not the tournaments that earned him the most points (victory in Indian Wells, final at the French Open), but the first two home wins in summer in Kitzbuhel on sand and in autumn in Vienna in the hall. "Those were really emotional moments," he said. But the first 1000 title in Indian Wells already meant a lot to him. "If there's a Grand Slam title, it's good too," he added with a chuckle. For now he wants to continue his beautiful series against Roger Federer. (SDA)



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