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    ‘Once we step on the court, the other three are forgotten anyway’: US Open semi-finalist Dominic Thiem claims absence of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal will not matter as Flushing Meadows prepares to crown a new champion for the first time in six years

    • None of the US Open semi-finalists have previously won a Grand Slam
    • Favourite Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified earlier in tournament
    • Fellow big hitters Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer declined to enter this year
    • But Dominic Thiem claims their absence in final four will soon be forgotten 

    Over the next three days, tennis will get a glimpse of what life will be like after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

    A new champion will be crowned at the US Open for the first time since 2014 — and do not try to tell the semi-finalists that the winner will have taken some kind of shortcut.

    ‘There’s no Roger, Rafa, Novak — but there is Daniil (Medvedev), Sascha (Zverev) and Pablo (Carreno-Busta),’ said the fourth member of the quartet, Dominic Thiem.

    Dominic Thiem is one of the semi-finalists looking to win their first US Open grand slam

    ‘They’re three amazing players. Every one of us deserves this first major title, everybody will give it their all. Once we step on the court, the other three are forgotten anyway.’

    The latter trio of names do not exactly roll off the tongue in the same way as the Big Three, or four when Andy Murray was in the group.

    At a time when prize money and ATP Tour revenues are bound to come under pressure amid the global economic slump, the sport is going to need all the pulling power it can muster as its marquee players begin to fade away.

    Favourite Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified earlier in tournament after accidentally striking a line judge with a tennis ball

    Favourite Novak Djokovic was sensationally disqualified earlier in tournament after accidentally striking a line judge with a tennis ball

    Meanwhile 2019, winner Rafael Nadal did not enter the tournament this year

    Meanwhile 2019, winner Rafael Nadal did not enter the tournament this year

    Television viewing figures in America being down this year is a reminder of that, although there were mitigating circumstances.

    Aside from the absence of Nadal and Federer there has been an unusual clash with the NBA season, a dead on-court atmosphere without fans and six out of the top 10 women elected not to play.

    Zverev will take on Carreno-Busta but the champion is likely to come from the second match, between Thiem and Medvedev.

    Five-time winner Roger Federer has also been absent from this year's US Open

    Five-time winner Roger Federer has also been absent from this year’s US Open

    Thiem has already made three major finals, two in Paris and one in Melbourne — earlier this year — but he is seeking his first in New York.

    ‘If I’m the first Austrian or not, it’s not that important,’ he said.

    He may well view his semi as the final. His record versus the other two is so good — 7-2 with Zverev and 7-0 with Carreno-Busta — that it suggests this will be the biggest test.

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