Before they did battle in the final at Indian Wells, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem had to endure a hilariously weird moment.
As is customary at the BNP Paribus Open in the California desert, players are driven to centre court from the locker room by golf cart.
Federer and Thiem endured the awkward moment of having to sit back-to-back in the cart as they made the journey.
The combatants didn’t appear to lock eyes or speak to each other, primely focused on the task at hand.
Vai começar! Final do Masters 1000 de Indian Wells entre Roger Federer e Dominic Thiem no SporTV3.
Obs: Não nos responsabilizamos pelo abuso de caps lock nos próximos tuítes. Att,
— BreakPointBR (@BreakPointBR) March 17, 2019
Tennis fans and pundits saw the funny side of the awkward encounter.
Thiem took the front seat on the golf cart. Made ROGER FEDERER sit in the back.
Incredible bold move.
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) March 17, 2019
— Rahim™ 🇲🇦🇬🇧 (@rahim94) March 17, 2019
Thiem and Federer are getting driven to the court in a vehicle that looks like an oversize golf cart. 😐
— is this a strange land or am i the stranger? (@fjthom) March 17, 2019
Thiem upstages Federer
Thiem overpowered Federer to claim the biggest title of his career and deny the Swiss ace a record sixth ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells.
Austrian seventh seed Thiem dropped the first set but found his rhythm as the match progressed to secure a 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory – his first over Federer on a hardcourt.
Federer raced into a 4-1 lead and despite being broken back the 37-year-old sealed a second break to secure the first set after a successful service game.
The 25-year-old Thiem reversed the 4-1 scoreline in the second set before he evened up the match to force the deciding set.
In his third Masters 1000 final, Thiem’s confidence increased and he raised his level to outplay Federer when it mattered most to win his 12th ATP crown.
He denied the 20-time grand slam champion on nine of 11 break-point chances and a forehand winner gave Thiem the opportunity to serve for the title at 6-5 in the final set.