Dominic Thiem says he had a lot of time to think about his Australian Open final defeat to Novak Djokovic during Covid-19 lockdown and is targeting Grand Slam glory again in Melbourne.
When the two met last year, the Austrian made 16 unforced errors in the final set and ultimately lost 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4.
At that point it was the third time Thiem had reached a Grand Slam final, the other two coming against Rafael Nadal at the French Open (2018 and 2019), and his wait for a Slam victory continued.
'My best shape' - Djokovic says Rome title win over Tsitsipas is perfect prep for French Open
He later went on that year to win his maiden Slam - the US Open. But the world number three admits the defeat to Djokovic was tough to take with Covid-19 lockdown giving him a lot of thinking time.
"It was a hell of a tournament. It was a hell of a trip," he told Todd Woodbridge on AO Countdown.
"The ATP Cup also was super nice. It comes to my mind it was the last big tournament that was normal [before the Covid-19 pandemic].
I probably played one of my best tournaments ever in my career and well, just failed. I had a lot of time to think about that match and think about my chances to ever win a major so that was not easy.
Thiem is currently in quarantine in Adelaide ahead of the 2021 Australian Open which gets underway on February 8. He says winning the tournament is his primary aim right now.
"The next big goal is the Australian Open definitely," he added.
"Also the ATP Cup before but I know how tough and how brutal physically and mentally a first grand slam of the year can be. Now I just try to practice well, work hard and keep myself fresh."
Djokovic edges Thiem in five-set thriller
Djokovic records 1000th career win against Ruud to set up Tsitsipas final in Rome
Djokovic seals 999th career win in clay classic against FAA, Tsitsipas to play Zverev