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Thiem: This is Why Tsitsipas Is Great for Game

Dominic Thiem has seen Stefanos Tsitsipas evolve from talented hitting partner to historic ATP Finals champion.

Two-time Roland Garros finalist Thiem says the 21-year-old Greek is great for the game because he plays dynamic tennis in an artistic, all-court style that appeals to fans.

Zverev: Maiden Major Coming

"He played great today. He played great throughout the whole tournament," Thiem said after Tsitsipas scored a 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4) triumph in a dramatic final to become the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. "I mean, he's the champion, and he deserves it 100 percent.

"I think also that he's great for tennis, because he has a very attractive game style, one-handed backhand, comes in a lot. Very beautiful technique, as well.  It's great that he's up on the top. It's great that he's going to fight for the big titles in the future. I'm 100 percent sure of that."

Three years ago, Tsitsipas attended the season finale at London's O2 Arena as Thiem's hitting partner and guest of the ITF. 

The 26-year-old Thiem hopes this gripping final is the start of a long-time rivalry between the friends.

"I'm also very sure of the fact that I can challenge him in every single match we're going to play," said Thiem, who has won four of their seven meetings. "As I said on the court, as I said in Beijing, I really hope that we're going to have a lot of big matches coming, the two of us. And of course also me and then the other young guys in the next years."

The Big 3 of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have combined to capture 12 consecutive Grand Slam crowns and finish as year-end world No. 1 in 15 of the last 16 years.

Alexander Zverev, the 2018 ATP Finals champion, predicts 2020 will see a maiden major champion and cites Tsitsipas and Thiem as two who could break through. Thiem concurs.

"I think that for sure we can do it next year," Thiem said. "We are all playing great tennis. Sascha, Stefanos, me, some other guys. I think, or I also said before already, I'm pretty sure that we're going to see a new and young Grand Slam champion next year."

Photo credit: Nitto ATP Finals