U.S. Open Winner Thiem Says Athletes Should Take Social Stands
Dominic Thiem, who won the U.S. Open tennis tournament after a dramatic come-from-behind match, said sports stars should use their fame to speak out about social issues that resonate with them.
“It’s very important,” Thiem said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Vonnie Quinn. “The biggest athletes — they have a huge platform. They have many, many fans. And they can spread out positive messages to the world. And the world definitely needs it, especially in tough times like this.”
The 27-year-old Austrian won his first Grand Slam tournament Sunday in New York, defeating Germany’s Alexander Zverev after losing the first two sets. Women’s champion Naomi Osaka, whose parents are Haitian and Japanese, wore visors throughout the tournament with the names of Black people who died at the hands of police.
Thiem said he planned to immediately go to play in the French Open later this month, continuing the grueling tournament pace the athlete is known for.
“The last majors, I was going in with a huge amount of pressure on myself,” he said. “I hope that I can play a little bit more free, which would help my game a lot.”
The Open was played without fans — and without some of its biggest stars, including Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who opted out due to injuries or the risk of getting the coronavirus.
Novak Djokovic, another top-ranked player, was ejected early for accidentally hitting a line judge with a ball.
“I don’t regret that I didn’t play him because he’s so good,” Thiem said. “But what happened was just really, really unlucky. I think a chain of super-unlikely situations.”
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