Dominic Thiem praises ‘role model’ Andy Murray
17-time tour titlist Dominic Thiem has praised “role model” Andy Murray after the two faced off for the first time in three years in Madrid.
The two former Grand Slam winners clashed in the opening round of the Madrid Open, with the former world number one beating the Austrian comfortably 6-3, 6-4 to earn his first clay-court win since 2017 at Roland Garros and improve to 3-2 in their head to head record.
The result meant that Dominic Thiem was still looking for his first win since his return to the ATP circuit.
Afterward, the pair met at the net and shared a warm embrace, with Murray ushering words of encouragement to Thiem, who was competing in just his third tour-level event since last June following a wrist injury.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, who has had well-documented injury issues of his own, told Thiem, “Keep going. It takes a lot of time but you’ll be fine”.
Reflecting on the Brit’s words of encouragement, the former US Open champion told reporters in a recent interview, “It was very nice, his words at the net, and it is worth even more from someone like him who really went through that recovery process.
“He is one of the few who knows how tough it is to come back after a major injury and obviously he is a role model with how he came back with his hip injury.”
Speaking after the match, Andy Murray also commented on Thiem’s comeback believing there are plenty of positives for the Austrian to take forward from the match.
“It’s not easy coming back from such a long time [away]. I hope that it’s just sort of a mental thing that he will get through with more matches and that it’s not still something that is causing him pain or discomfort.”
“At times he hit it well, but there were certainly specific shots that usually he would make. He is still serving well, has a fantastic kick serve and was hitting his backhand very well. He’s an excellent mover.”
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