Pain in the rifle butt: Thiem blasts Austrian military service

National service: Austria's Dominic Thiem returns the ball to Italy's Marco Cecchinato

Paris (AFP) – French Open finalist Dominic Thiem on Friday described being forced to complete national service with the Austrian military as “a pain in the arse”.

Thiem was called up at the end of 2014 when he was 21 under Austrian law which requires all men to serve six months in the forces.

Due to his position as a professional sportsman, he was allowed to complete just four weeks.

“I’m not a big fan of the military service. It was a pain in the arse these three, four weeks, seriously,” said Thiem after beating Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 on Friday to reach his first Grand Slam final.

“I was privileged on this one because I’m an athlete. I only had to do four weeks, and the others have to stay six months there.

“But still it was not helpful for my start of the next tennis season. In general, I didn’t like it.”

When Thiem returned to the tour at the start of 2015, he slumped to opening round losses in Auckland and the Australian Open.