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Dominic Thiem Wins In Belgrade, The First Stop On Djokovic’s Adria Tennis Tour

By Ricky Dimon

A lot has changed in 2020. But the more things change, at least one thing stays the same: Dominic Thiem wins on clay.

Thiem triumphed in the first leg of the Adria Tour on Sunday, beating Filip Krajinovic in the final at Novak Djokovic’s tennis center in Belgrade, Serbia. The world No. 3 came through his round-robin group undefeated and then got the best of Krajinovic 4-3(2), 2-4, 4-2.

The inaugural event, put on by Djokovic himself, featured the Fast Four scoring format and welcomed more than 4,000 fans in attendance. Eight players participated and were placed in two different round-robin groups of four. Djokovic was a heavy favorite in his quartet but got upset by Krajinovic on Saturday. That opened the door for Thiem, who took care of business in a competitive title match.

“I’m happy with the level I played this week,” the 26-year-old Austrian commented. “I’ve been fully in practice for quite a while; I played seven matches in Austria. But I have to say it’s something very different with the big crowd. You’re a little bit tight and you want to play better because you’re not just playing for yourself. You also want to give the fans a good show. So I’m super happy that I won all of my matches.

“It’s always nice to win a trophy, of course, but that was not the main cause for me to come here. It’s great that it ended up like that, but first of all I had a really great time here. I had an amazing weekend. It was for a good cause, too, so it couldn’t be better. So, a big thank you to Novak and his team, his family, for organizing this great even and making the time special for us here.”

Djokovic would agree that the weekend was not primarily about winning. The world No. 1, who beat Alexander Zverev in three sets on Sunday but needed a straight-set victory in order to advance, was emotional following the successful event in his hometown.

“I am not crying because I got knocked out of the tournament, I am just overwhelmed by emotion because this reminds me of my childhood,” he explained. “It’s been an emotional few days and I want to thank everyone who made this possible…. I love you all and thank you so much for turning up.”

Adria Tour action will resume next weekend in Croatia and there will likely be two more stops thereafter.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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