Thiem has a good recent record against Djokovic, winning four of their past five encounters including two wins last year, but he will be the underdog against the 32-year-old Serbian who has never lost a final at the Australian Open.
“We are playing in tough times, we young players. We always have to beat all these unbelievable legends,” Thiem said.
“It’s absolutely his comfort zone here.”
Thiem said his experience in the French Open finals in 2018 and 2019 – when he lost to Nadal – gave him confidence he could perform well against Djokovic.
“In this one I have the feeling that I have great experience now. I’m feeling that I can really keep up my level for all the two weeks, which was not the case maybe in my first Roland Garros final,” Thiem said.
If he were to claim victory on Sunday night he would become the 150th man to win one of the four grand slams.
Thiem said the semi-final was decided in two or three key moments that gave him the second and third sets against Zverev and the confidence to get the job done.
Zverev walked away from the match certain Thiem was the best player he faced in the tournament, and he tipped his friend to have every chance to beat Djokovic.
“It’s more difficult. But I think he has a chance,” Zverev said.
“He’s playing the best tennis of his life. I think he’s playing much better than he played in London, to be honest.
“I think it was a much better match that we played. Yeah, I do believe that he has a chance. I do believe he’s playing good enough. I wish him nothing but the best.”
The German said he would learn from his first semi-final appearance and he regretted not converting more of the 14 break-point chances after only making five breaks.
When asked about whether he felt more support from the Australian crowds after his pledge to give $10,000 for every win and all of his $4 million prize purse if he won the tournament, he said: “The Australian crowd is always very nice to me”.
“I love playing here. They know I love playing here. I always feel welcomed here. That was great,” he said.
“Yeah, unfortunately I could not make it happen with all the prize money. As I said, I will keep my promise. I will donate the $50,000 and hope that can help a little bit.”
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.