His ft have been heavy, however Dominic Thiem was feeling mild.
That’s the place he completed 2020, a 12 months in which he clinched his maiden Grand Slam crown. The intent in the house run, solely a pair of months after the most important win of his profession, was unadorned. But with simply 5 match wins in 2021, one of them courtesy a retirement, the Austrian’s present is missing in thematic stability.
The World No. 4 had a disappointing Australian Open in February, because the season received off to a late begin. An indolent fourth-spherical loss to Grigor Dimitrov. In his subsequent outing, in Doha, he received a spherical, earlier than crashing at his first hurdle in Dubai.
It was that recital of 12 months in the past, the place he fell to Novak Djokovic in the ultimate at Melbourne Park, 4-6 in the fifth set, that held a mirror to his capacity. His finest, the 27-12 months-outdated understood, might win him majors, personal the very levels the large three – Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – known as house. He ran with that to clinch his first main title in September, then carried the load imperceptibly, making the ultimate of the season-finale.
“That (understanding) put a lot of pressure on me. At the US Open, I somehow turned it around,” Thiem mentioned. “Those struggles came again, before the Australian Open. Approaching a Grand Slam with the hope to win it, is different from approaching it with the belief that it can be won. I’ve only been in this situation for one year, I still have to learn how to deal with it.”
The power could also be in the bodily flex, however the realization gave it command. “The huge power that I generate, I can hit winners from anywhere,” he mentioned. “No matter how close the scoreline, I have trust in my shots. I have that ability of hitting winners out of nowhere.”
His mom Karin began a tattoo custom in 2019 when Thiem received the twelfth of his 17 titles at Indian Wells. After the US Open she inked the Statue of Liberty. A logo of all that is potential.
The New York last, his fourth tango in the title spherical of a serious, consumed him. The 27-12 months-outdated edged out Alexander Zverev in a fifth set tie-break, changing into the primary participant since Pancho Gonzales in 1949 to win the US Open from two units down in the ultimate. An act that was 71-years in the making.
“It’s such a big thing to realize your career goal. In the beginning, I didn’t realize how much it took out of me. In a way, it still does,” Thiem advised TOI in a digital chat. “Dealing with it, digesting it, it’s a process I still have to learn.”
Thiem embraced the pandemic-hit 2020, notably the spring and summer season months, which gave him a lot-wanted downtime at house in the market city of Lichtenworth. “Not to travel, not to have pressure every single week, the pressure to perform,” he mentioned. “I enjoyed the first weeks and months…”
Thiem revels in the outside, nice expanses of open areas, he likes mountaineering and working. For that psychological-bodily stability of development and variety, Thiem reads nearly something he can lay his palms on.
“It’s something for my brain, I try to read a lot,” he mentioned. “Almost every topic, sometimes something that’s light and easy like crime fiction, other times more philosophical books that are more difficult to read. I enjoy reading.”
The 27-12 months-outdated, twice finalist in Roland Garros, skipped the Masters 1000 in Miami to take care of foot points (proper). Thiem will kick off his clay courtroom marketing campaign on the ATP 250 Series Serbia Open, beginning on April 19.
The entrance runner among the many subsequent era of gamers, shuffling to take the baton from the Big Three, he additionally hardlines it is consistency. Thiem reached a profession-excessive No. 3 in 2020 and has been ranked in Top-10 since June 2016, the second-longest lively streak after Nadal (since April 25, 2005). He’s now behind Russian Daniil Medvedev, who has crept as much as No.2 in the ATP rankings. In breakpoints saved and transformed (in 2020), Thiem is at 66 and 42 %, forward of Medvedev (64 and 42) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (64 and 39) who full the highest-5 together with Djokovic and Nadal.
“The top-10 consistency is a thing I’m very proud of. It shows that I didn’t have a lot of ups and downs, I played at a very high level for most of the time,” he mentioned. “It’s super tough to stay in the top-10. Tennis is such a competitive sport, with so many great players who have the possibility to break into the top-10, but not too many guys do it. That I have been there for almost five years makes me proud.”
Dominic Thiem, the athlete, is nothing if not reliable. It is the centre of his play, the cream of his outcomes.
KINGS AND CROWNS
2020 – 1 (title)
US Open (Outdoor/Hard)
2019 – 5
Indian Wells (Outdoor/Hard)
2018 – 3
St Petersburg (Indoor/Hard)
Buenos Aires (Outdoor/Clay)
Rio de Janeiro (Outdoor/Clay)
Buenos Aires (Outdoor/Clay)