Thiem: "I wish there could be two winners, we both deserved it"

Alexander Zverev of Germany returns a shot to Dominic Thiem of Austria during the men's singles final of the US Open tennis championships Sunday Sept. 13 2020 in New York

Up two-sets-to-love over Dominic Thiem in the US Open final, the world No. 7 looked destined to finally break his hoodoo and win his first grand slam title.

While this was the number seven-ranked Zverev's first grand slam final, this was the first one that Thiem was supposed to win, following losses to Nadal at the French Open in 2018 and 2019, then to Djokovic at the Australian Open this February - back before the pandemic upended the world and prompted a US Open with zero fans and regular COVID-19 testing.

The 27-year-old from the market town of Lichtenworth, virtually hobbling with soreness by the end, triumphed 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 in just under four hours.

Thiem finally clinched it 8-6 in the tiebreak on his third match point, having made a disgusting mess of two straightforward forehands when he had chances at 6-4 and 6-5 after two double faults from his opponent.

It is the first of many for you (to Thiem) ", Zverev started before breaking into tears: "I want to thank my parents for a lifetime in which they have been watching over me.

"It was a tough battle".

"With this achieved, I hope that I'm going to be a little bit more relaxed and play a little bit more freely at the biggest events". "Today is the day where I gave back huge amount of what they did for me". "I think that we were both tested negative maybe 14 times, something like that, this week", Thiem said.

Marin Cilic's U.S. Open title in 2014 was the last won by somebody who hadn't previously won a major singles title.

He fell as the first male Grand Slam victor born in the 1990s, an eccentric stat born of the hegemony of Federer (born 1981), Nadal (1986), Djokovic (1987), Andy Murray (1987) and Stanislas Wawrinka (1985).

Fending off six out of eight break chances, Thiem had the upper hand when it mattered the most to seal the deal in straight sets, reaching the third final in the previous five Majors. I remember you told me, "You're going to make it". I think this is not the only one.

Thiem earned another match point with a fearless pass though, and Zverev then dragged a backhand wide. It's incredible how far our journey progressed together to share this moment with you.

"There are some special people missing in the crowd today". I wanted this title so much, and of course there was also in my head that if I lose this one, it's 0-4.

Tournament director Stacey Allaster said before the men's final Sunday that the use of electronic line-calling instead of line judges for all courts other than the two largest stadiums went well. Zverev said the match turned in the third set, but not irreversibly. "I'm sure they're sitting at home (watching) and even though I lost they're pretty proud and I wish one day that I can bring the trophy home".