Roger Federer: THIS made Dominic Thiem’s Indian Wells final win ‘more incredible’ – pundit

That’s the belief of tennis analyst Catherine Whitaker.

The Austrian came from one set down to claim his first ever Masters 1000 triumph over Federer in the Californian desert, winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Thiem rose to a career-high world No 4 with his triumph, having previously endured a tough start to 2019.

The 25-year-old has previously been met with criticisms that he will only win titles, or Grand Slams, on clay court having impressed on the red dirt in recent years.

But Thiem was superb against Federer after overcoming a slow start and denied Federer a 101st title even though the Swiss icon had enjoyed extra rest going into the final after he received a bye straight to the championship match due to Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal.

And Whitaker – the host of Amazon Prime’s coverage of the tournament – was impressed by Thiem’s “statement” win given how tense he was going into the match.

She told The Telegraph’s Tennis Podcast: “Because the women’s final was so good and so long, there was a long delay on the scheduled start time for the men’s final. 

“We were watching both of their warm-up shots but I was paying particular attention to Dominic Thiem. Then we saw them get on the buggy and go to court. 

“All I could think was just how tense and nervous Thiem looked. His fitness trainer was doing this weird exercise where he had one hand on either side of his chest and was sort of literally trying to loosen up his chest. 

“Daniela Hantuchova in our studio thought he was really feeling the tension and his fitness trainer was trying to physically press the tension out of him. 

“And so it proved, in those first three games it looked like, ‘Oh goodness me, he’s just crumbling.’ You could see that his arm weighed twice as much as it usually does and he his movement wasn’t as nimble as usual. 

“It looked like it could have been a disastrous day for Dominic Thiem. For me that makes it all the more incredible that he pulled it back and he didn’t panic. 

“He said after the match that he felt in the zone the whole match, which I found really amazing. He obviously didn’t read too much into the fact he was three love down, maybe even because of how nervous he was and he expected to make a slow start. 

“He just managed to reset in his mind after that first set and say, ‘Okay, the match starts here.’ When Thiem’s in a tight spot, he just hits the ball harder, harder and harder. 

“It takes your breath away sometimes. He was bludgeoning the ball in that deciding set. We were all sitting there waiting for him to start feeling it, there were signs of that against Raonic in the semi final in the deciding set when he had a real wobble. 

“But he found something else in the final in that deciding set. This is an enormous statement from Thiem.”