Dominic Thiem believes that facing an in-form Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open is one of the toughest challenges in tennis.
Speaking after his 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 comeback victory over the Australian on Friday night, Thiem said: “It was an epic match, I think [a] huge effort from both players, actually. Honestly, I was almost on my way home when I faced two break points in the beginning of the third set.
“I think it's one of the tougher challenges out there in tennis to face Nick when he's on fire on his favourite court with an unbelievable atmosphere and crowd behind him. So I'm super proud [with] how I got through it, and [it] definitely gives me a big boost for everything that is coming.”
The third-seeded Austrian, who will next face No. 18 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the fourth round, is without his coach Nicolas Massu at Melbourne Park.
Looking back at the victory over Kyrgios, Thiem added: “I was pretty tight in the beginning and then had the worst start possible with a break down… If he plays great like today, on fire, you're constantly under so much pressure on your own serve. Because you have in the back of your head that you're not going [to] break him or that you're not going [to] get a lot of chances to break. So it's almost playing against the big service, [there] is constantly huge pressure… and he can always play great return games.”
Last year’s finalist went on to reveal that he is competing at the Australian Open in clothing that has been completely recycled from plastic. After each victory, he now signs the television camera lens with a special message.
“Now I always put ‘Play for the ocean’, because I’ve supported [4ocean] for a long time… My outfit is completely [made from] recycled plastic from the ocean. It's together with Parley, so that's an amazing cause.”