Austrian tennis star Thiem, who won the Flushing Meadows title three years ago, impressed as he recorded a 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over 25th-seed Bublik.
It was a significant victory for Thiem – who has struggled with injury in recent years – and has now progressed to the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the Australian Open in 2021.
But their meeting was marred by controversy as a clip of Kazakhstani player Bublik went viral during the match as he appeared to say in Russian: ‘I’m f****** sick of getting all these disabled people back in their career.’
It seems to be a reference to some of his losses in 2023 to players who have fought back from significant injuries – with Bublik having also been defeated by Gael Monfils this year – while Stan Wawrinka has recorded two wins over him.
‘I speak the language (unfortunately),’ one user wrote about the clip. ‘The translation (into English) is absolutely correct. I think it’s even softer than the original words.’
Another user tweeted: ‘Apart from this being incredibly offensive, perhaps he should simply start playing better tennis so that he doesn’t lose so easily? Just a thought!’
A third posted: ‘[He is] such a joke in the tennis world. More of a caricature than a player to be taken seriously. So happy to have Thiem (and others) back in action. Tick tock.’
Bublik was also called a ‘sore loser’, labelled a ‘spoiled brat’ and deemed ‘nasty’ by other tennis fans replying to the video.
Thiem, meanwhile, will next play American Ben Shelton in the second round at Flushing Meadows.