DOMINIC THIEM 2019

2018 Review = 2019 Preview

2019 is starting right now. With Tenerife Camp off-season preparation.

They are there right now 🙂

Working hard on fitness for new epic matches in 2019 🙂

Updated 8.12.2018, 23:49  


Monday 10. of December, 17.00 CET you can watch and hear and participate in an interview with Thiem, Struff and Goffin on Tenerife

Updated 9.12.2018, 18:30  


Almost 2 hours BEHIND THE SCENES in Tenerife, with Thiemn, Goffin, Struff, Dennis Novak, Gulbis, Mike Reinprecht, Alex Stober, Thierry Van Cleemput (Goffin’s coach) und NATÜRLICH dem CAPO DI TUTTI CAPPI Günter Bresnik. Lots of interviews and lots of hitting. Partly German, partly English, with life translation of the Interviewer, screenplay-maker and and …  Stachi (Matthias Stach)

(click the image to watch)

Updated 10-12-2018, 19:02  

YOUTUBE CHANNEL UPDATE

Updated 12.12.2018, 16:38   


An interesting Bresnik’s interview

The German original you find HERE

GÜNTER BRESNIK: “I’M NOT PRONE TO GOOSEBUMPS”

Since the founding of Sportmagazin in 1987, Günter Bresnik from Vienna has been highly successful as a coach of tennis professionals such as Horst Skoff, Boris Becker and Austria’s current top 10 star Dominic Thiem. In a very personal interview, he talks about his best and worst moments, about what weakens him. And he says why he believes Thiem can do the job of number 1.

Sportmagazin: The efforts of a long tournament season were only recently to be marvelled at in London in quite a few, quite peculiar games. How do you diagnose that?

Günter Bresnik: I think this talk about the oh so hard season is a theater – and not even a particularly exciting one. How long does a normal person have to work a year? How much vacation do you have, for example? Three weeks? Four? Tennis players usually have one to two months. And start complaining about how long the season is in August. I think the moaning about the long season is a stupidity, a fashion, one chatters after the other.

But also coaches like you are criticized again and again because of an allegedly too dense tournament planning. You always have to hear criticism, but you also have to question it. According to their substance and intention. Look, at the Masters in London they discussed Sascha Zverev. That he should be more careful with his tournament selection in the future, because he played the most of all in 2018 with 77 matches. And then he wins the tournament. Or take a look at Roger Federer: 1440 matches in 20 seasons. That averages 72 per year, on average! Although he only plays 40, 50 games in the last three years. A few years ago, he played over 90 games. Or John McEnroe, who had a year with around 95 singles and over 70 doubles. And then I hear that today everyone is much fitter than before. Does a three-set game last longer today than 30 years ago? No. Maybe it was even more physically intense back then, because a lot more was about the rallies and less about the serve. And best of five is played less and less. In addition there are all the unnecessary breaks …

Towel, balls, etc. Exactly. Some have five balls given to them before serving and examine them like before surgery. They do not disinfect them. They should bring a tennis ball into play, not operate on anyone! And then the thing with the towel! They used to run their sleeves or sweatband over their forehead and it went on. It would be really interesting to compare the net playing times of today and then.

How fit are you after more than three decades as a tennis coach yourself? I am 57 now and since I am married and have children and then especially the last ten years with the Dominic, I have let myself go physically extremely. Currently I stand at over 100 kilos. Being overweight in form is extremely unhealthy. In addition comes my life change. I travel a lot, eat at completely unfavourable times and work extremely hard in my academy in Südstadt. Of course this is an overexploitation, but I enjoy my job so much that I don’t feel the overexploitation.

Are you acutely weakened by any aches and pains? Overweight weakens. I know, I know, that would be relatively easy to fix, but on the other hand, not being able to do anything about it also means that you have other priorities: dealing with nature, your job, your family, your own development. And then fall asleep in the evening with a good book in your hand. That also has quality.

How do you endure sitting in the Player’s Box for hours and hours, forced to inactivity? If sitting would be difficult for me, it would really be a declaration of bankruptcy. Sitting is still easy for me (laughs). But of course being at the mercy and the impossibility to intervene are unpleasant. In the end, however, this is limited to the duration of the matches. And with age I became more patient. Patience, that is one of the central qualities of a good coach for me meanwhile.

My main goal as a coach is to make myself unnecessary.

Patience with what? Patience waiting for the right moment to tell your player something. And then just saying what really needs to be said. If you say the right thing at the wrong time, you’ll run into deaf ears or so much resistance that it won’t do you any good. Or if you keep talking, everything can still be right, it doesn’t help your player because he can never take anything. The really good coaches are at the back of the court and only say something when it really works at that moment. This means that it can happen that a really good coach doesn’t say anything for minutes.

What is the most important thing among the right things? There is no general answer.

What is the most important thing among the right things? There is no general answer. Because more important than you being understood as a coach is that you understand what the other person really needs. My main goal as a coach is to make me unnecessary. I am extremely happy when a player gives me a match analysis in which I can hear myself talking. And the further your player is, the more you don’t have to do anything as a coach.

Back to the box at the edge of the tennis court. What was the greatest thing you were allowed to experience there? I am already very success- and result-oriented. We live in top sport here, so in the end the final victories are the most satisfying, but a completely round week with four, five, maybe even seven good performances is of course the optimum. With the Dominic, the most emotional moment was probably his first tournament victory in Nice in 2015. We did everything the whole week differently from what everyone else thought was right, we trained really hard every day for two or three hours and on Saturday I called his parents and brother and told them to come because tomorrow could be the day. And the fact that they could be there when that happened that ten years ago was mentioned, and I saw how happy the whole family was, even after that week, that was something very special. But for example, it was also important for me how Boris Becker won the Masters during our time together in 1992.

And what was really bad? Defeats are always bad, but with increasing age the bigger defaults are for me not to be able to be there when one of my children has a birthday or when my wife Kathi holds a vernissage in her shop. But there’s still no lost match after which I won’t be really pissed off for at least a few hours and have to make sure I don’t take my grant out on the wrong people. The day I don’t care about defeats, I’ll probably stop. And there are a few who have taken me right, right. With Dominic’s two defeats this year against Nadal (note: final Paris, quarter finals US Open), for example, I spent days, even weeks, working.

Günter Bresnik began his career as a professional coach with the brilliant tennis player and temporary bird of paradise. In 2008 “the Horsti” died tragically in a way that has not yet been completely clarified.

Nevertheless, reaching this year’s final in Roland Garros was perhaps Thiem’s greatest success. As a player and coach, you see things differently. For Dominic, the defeat in the Paris Final felt as if you had to turn around 200 metres below the summit of Everest as a mountaineer. Maybe you’ll have to wait two or three years for your next chance and maybe it won’t come back at all. These are the thoughts that go through your mind as a player. And that gnaws extremely at someone as ambitious as Dominic. But tennis is still a game after all. All in all, the worst moment in my coaching life was when I got the call (June 2008) that Horsti Skoff had died. Something like that is really bad.

But there is a lot at stake, even if tennis is just a game. Sure, they have to prepare themselves intensively and work hard, but sometimes our choice of words is simply stupid, we talk about “weapons” and “bombs”, “grenades” and that you have to “kill” a ball, but in the end it is and should remain a game and no one has to be sorry at all. There are journalists who actually feel sorry for Dominic because he works so hard. I don’t understand that. He lives his passion! Then there’s the eternal topic with the renunciation of disco, etc. Who needs disco if he can do what he really loves?

In a recent interview with the “Kurier” you said that it would have been wiser to finish your medical studies first and then become a coach. But as a son of a doctor you have acquired a basic medical knowledge. To what extent did this help you as a trainer? There is no knowledge, no matter in which area, that does not help you, no matter in which area of life. I think even a really good carpenter would do many things better than others as a trainer because of his different perspective. And as a better coach you can become a better carpenter. Medical school is the only thing in my life that I haven’t finished, but what I’ve learned has been enough to help me develop as a trainer. Especially at the beginning the medical knowledge was very helpful. Understanding physiological processes is one of the basics of the coaching profession.

You in particular are considered to be an extremely tough trainer who at the very least pushes the limits of his abilities. Toughness is the basic requirement, not more, and pushing the limits is exactly the right formulation. There are many coaches who can really teach you something, but unknowingly go beyond physiological limits. And overtraining is a thousand times worse than being undertrained, because it can have a negative effect for weeks. Knowledge and, of course, experience help.

The cooperation with Dominic Thiem is based on both. How much does it touch you when you see him on the big tennis stages today, perhaps on occasions like the publically drawn invasion of London’s O2 Arena? This invasion honestly doesn’t touch me at all. I am not a person who is particularly fond of productions. If I know that the player is well prepared and then perhaps, as in the recent match against Nishikori in London, can end the season with a win and an attractive performance, then it has a much stronger effect on me. I’m not prone to goose bumps, but I know, for example, that Dominic’s mother Karin likes to sit outside in the box before a match because she’s looking forward to the invasion. And I fully understand that. It’s like other mothers graduating, where everyone throws their hat in the air because they made it.

So what gives you the greatest pleasure in your place? When a player finally builds things into the match that you’ve been training for months. This often happens suddenly when you don’t expect it anymore, surprisingly often even in an important moment – these are things where my eyes can get a bit wet. Do you know how beautiful it is when something finally bears fruit?

Does the personal closeness between Dominic Thiem and you also bring disadvantages? No. I don’t think you can help someone decisively if you don’t really know him well. The first task for a coach is to understand the athlete. And for that, logically, you first have to get to know him well. An architect once wanted to plan a house for me, perhaps that was objectively better than my house, but I wanted it to be different. If he had known me better, it would have been completely different. That’s what I mean. That also applies to an athlete. And the older he is, the more it applies. I would put it that way: You are at the same time a leader for the athlete and a service provider for his career and the less you have to be the first, the better you did your job.

“No one should believe that Dominic is as malleable as plasticine.”

What about Dominic? The Dominic is not one who opens himself very proactively, you have to pull things out of his nose. With Dominic, progress takes longer than with others, but he makes much fewer setbacks. Conversely, this also means that every step in his development should go in the right direction.

Have there never been any resistance from him in your relationship? I was a person of respect for him from the beginning, I never had to fight for my authority with him simply because of the age difference. We were always per you, but never in such a way that a “you asshole” would have said himself easier for him than a “Mr. asshole”. There was already this necessary distance. For me he was also always like an open book. I always had all the information from his parents, from other coaches who worked with him or were on the road. I always knew what to do, so there was never any potential for conflict, not even after defeats. Not from his side because he knew that I knew what I was doing and not from my side because there was no match where he didn’t try the best. He has also learned on every single day to this day. Dominic is a stroke of luck for a coach, the perfect protégé. But you can’t say that he would be a simply knitted personality.

In what way is he complicated? Nobody should believe that Dominic is malleable like modeling clay, he is like granite or, better, like diamond. If he doesn’t want something, he doesn’t want it. But it’s incredibly charming how he doesn’t do things that get on his nerves. He also has a memory like an elephant. There is nothing he forgets. Unbelievable.

The way started about 15 years ago with Dominic Thiem led the one into the Top-10 and the other finally into the coaching Olymp.

Probably also influenced by his own origins and upbringing. To what extent do you support the lifelong expansion of Dominic Thiem’s horizons? The fact that he also deals with other things than tennis balls is very important, especially now when his career is getting a certain publicity effect. His great interest in health, animal welfare and environmental protection is good for me and his commitment to these issues is good for me. That is an additional dimension. It’s tricky where it becomes political. Basically, Dominic is a political person, but hopefully he will not make a public political declaration for the next ten years. I do not think that is appropriate. Yes, it is important that you use your level of awareness for important things, but you must also be aware that you are a layman. Dominic is a tennis player, not a polite expert, not a scientist. Many people overestimate themselves and believe that because they are good tennis players, good actors or whatever, they can make fun of politicians, for example. I believe that as a layman you should always have respect. And I also believe that you basically become a politician because you want to help other people, not because you want to get bribed or do any other nonsense.

He or she could also do it for the sake of prestige. Every human being has a need for recognition. Every athlete. As a coach, I have a need for recognition. I want to be recognized. If you are recognized, you will do something, and you will be recognized for success. As long as it is lived out under morally good conditions, an urge for recognition is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it is a breeding ground for extraordinary achievements.

How satisfied are you with Dominic Thiems sporting development? Many people don’t know that he had a serious illness between 16 and 19 (a bacterial intestinal disease), which ultimately cost him almost four years. This means that he is missing, so to speak, one fifth of his possible career. And yet he is extremely far away. Basically, not many mistakes have happened to us. Of course he is always thrown back by small injuries, illnesses and sometimes he really plays terribly bad points, sets, games, tournaments, but when I think of how he used to egg the other twelve-year-olds at home in Lower Austria and now stands up and shoots the balls around the ears with a Federer or a Djokovic almost on a par, then it would be presumptuous and coquettish not to be satisfied with the sporting development. Nevertheless, one or two things don’t run quite smoothly again and again. That’s often my fault.

And human? It is quite challenging to work with him, because he can be a real stubborn skull. He questions everything, takes nothing for granted, he is not someone who is passionate about something new, but basically he is a real dream son-in-law. Not that he should now marry one of my four daughters (laughs), but he is simply a good guy, authentic, honest, loyal, he already unites many qualities in himself, which I consider desirable. For his human and sporting development it was crucial that his parents, his grandparents and his whole family were always there. He was never judged by his performance. Even as a child they didn’t tell him after a match that he could have done this or that better. They said we enjoyed watching you again. It couldn’t have been better, the Thiems defined the term “tennis parents” in a whole new way, lovingly and withdrawn and totally committed at the same time. The Thiems are also a family with an extremely strong cohesion. The children are safe and equipped with a healthy self-confidence. I don’t know of any area where Dominic feels insecure.

 

The most coveted position in tennis is that of world number one. For me, however, this does not only define a sporting status, but also includes more, including the role of the worldwide ambassador of an entire sport. Would Dominic Thiem be a good number 1? Not yet, but he could become one pretty soon. There are few conditions he would not have. He knows his profession well, he is intelligent, eloquent, he looks really good and he is one who can cut a good figure in almost any environment. He knows that you are nothing better as a person just because you play tennis better than others. He expresses himself very well in German, constantly improves his English and now understands French better and better. He is not a self-promoter, but he takes his profession very seriously and it is clear to him that in the time after Federer, Nadal and Djokovic others have to temporarily go to the command bridge. Dominic is one of those I trust to do this job.

What else would you like to teach him? I want him to serve better and return. I want him to play better forehand and backhand, to better complete and pass, to serve better and smash better, to recognize situations faster and to resolve them correctly more and more often. And that he can do everything else that defines a tennis professional better. I just want him to keep improving every day. You can’t imagine how much I always look forward to the preparation time. What goes on this month before the new season is also an energy reservoir for me for the next ten months. And as a person I just want to know what is important for him and help him to achieve it.

To the final: Would you actually like to look after another player so intensively? I already feel like it and in my academy there are some really good young people, including a 17-year-old Russian, in whom I see a lot of potential, but I’m 57 now and it would be very difficult to live side by side with Dominic for the next few years. And after his career I’m probably over my peak too.”

Updated 13.12.2018; 21.05  


Time for new video?

Updated 19.12.2018, 08:01  

BARCELONA ATP500 2019

Draw ceremony is scheduled for today at noon  and will be streamed on tournament’s website

Thiem is seeded 3. (after Nadal and wildcard Zverev).

You find more details about the tournament HERE

Thiem has only 45 points to defend here.

It’s a bit unfortunate, but due to poor result in Monte Carlo and Federer’s presence in Madrid, Thiem will not be able to fit into first 4 seeds there. Still he needs points in every tournament before Paris (250 points to defend in Lyon) to eventually qualify to first 4 seeds in Paris (again Federer will be there and Thiem would need to pass him or Zverev (who has 1000 points to defend in Madrid).

Updated 20.04.2019, 11:27


MAIN DRAW AND THIEM’S PATH

Barcelona2019Draw

BYE>CHUNG>TIAFOE>NADAL>ZVEREV/FOGNINI

 

Updated 20.04.2019, 12:58


Very very strange tournament

I cannot recall a tournament with so many “upsets.”  I don’t want to be disrespectful to those, who survived. But so many victims in every round? Strange.

After Thiem turned a “victim” I thought, he was ill again – just because of his unnatural behavior in the match against Lajovic. Yes, he had apparently some cold (some rhinitis and cough were there since first double match) but didn’t look after something very serious. Not in the Lajovic match.

But I see now Thiem looks healthy and trains hard in Barcelona with Massú (his father should come to replace Massú until the end of this tournament, because Massú must meet his old commitment to an exhibition in Chile. but will then come to Vienna to train with Dominic before Madrid.

Updated 20.04.2019, 20:47

THIEM vs. LAJOVIC

Tomorrow two matches to play

  • Singles: 3rd match on Court des Princes, around 15.00 CEST
  • Doubles: vs. Kubot&Melo, after suitable rest, last match on Court 2.

Lajovic is a nice player with good one-hander, so it should be a good match to watch. Thiem has 5: 0 record against him.

Updated 17.04.2019, 20:10


Thiem loses to virus again

(click the image to watch the whole match)

Updated 18.04.2019, 18:33

THIEM vs. KLIZAN

CAUTION, TRICKY OPPONENT

I hope, Massú will find the right tactic against Klizan, who is a specific opponent. Can play like Top500, another match/day like Top10. Uses lots of tricks, like playing deadly fatigued and then suddenly going young. Just like in the famous saying of Dolgopolov about Djokovic.

Against such an opponent you need to be better in everything or have the right game-plan (plus 2-3 to surprise him). That’s where Massú can be again the key.

Klizan is not the opponent to play “Full ahead” with no tactic against.

Dominic has so far 2:3 record with him. If I was Massú, I would tell Dominic to think rather of the final match against Rafa 😉

Before Dominic plays doubles tomorrow, teamed up with Jürgen Melzer, against Aliassime+Shapovalov. Could be nice match but it’s a classic for me. Or Massú can change this. In most cases so far Dominic had serving and returning problems in the singles match following the doubles. Also better not to go for the win, only for a warm-up. Starting singles on Wednesday (the tournament management scheduled him to play the same day as Rafa – hoping these two to play the final here?) means, he will play singles every day, so would need to play 2 matches on the same day in second round.

Updated 15.04.2019, 16:50


The match is scheduled as last (4th) match (the session starts on 11:00 CEST) of the day on Court Rainier III, after Nishikori vs. Herbert, Aliassime vs. Zverev and Nadal vs. Agut. No doubles for Thiem&Mezer tomorrow. Next doubles opponents could be Kubot&Melo (seed 2) or Granollers&Marc Lopez.

Updated 16.04.2019, 23:13


FIRST THINGS FIRST

(click the image to watch the full match record)

Updated 17.04.2019, 19:37

MONTE CARLO MASTERS 2019

JUST STARTING FOR DOMINIC

(from Thiem’s Instastory)

Updated 10.04.2019, 17:31


Good practice partner?

(Massú Instastory)

Updated 11.04.2019, 21:04


MAIN DRAW CEREMONY STARTS TODAY AT 18.30 CEST

Meanwhile Thiem prepares for trophy lifting 🙂

Updated 12.04.2019, 09:51


Singles draw is out

but PDF not yet available.

Here’s Dominic’s half (top half) and potential path. PDF comes later, when available.

Potential path:

BYE>Klizan>Lajovic/Jaziri>Basilashvili/Fucsovic/Khachanov>Djokovic>Nadal/Aliassime

Draw for doubles not yet published so I don’t know, if Dominic plays doubles.

Updated 12.04.2019, 20:15

MonteCarlo2019SinglesDraw

Updated 12-04.2019, 20:32


Doubles

Dominic plays doubles, paired with Jürgen Melzer, in first round against Aliassime&Shapovalow. Nice match-up 🙂 I fear, it will be not streamed and I hope, they lose, so Thiem can focus on singles 🙂 Not scheduled yet, but probably Monday/Tuesday, when first round matches will be played and Dominic has BYE and both opponents must play their singles first round matches.

Updated 13.04.2019, 12:17


Doubles is scheduled as 3rd match on Court 9 (first match starting at 11.00 CEST), so it should start at 14.00-15.00). Should be streamed on TennisTV. If no rain delay, I should be able to record the match and post the record here.

Updated 16.04.2019, 09:45


Is this tournament serious???

Shapovalow lost his singles and pulled out from doubles, maybe because (both are incidentally “Canadians”) Aliassime won his singles, so both – for different reasons .- no more interested in playing doubles.

On the other side – Verdasco lost his first round singles and Kohlschreiber is just playing Djokovic, lost first set and going probably to lose the match, but who knows?

Thiem&Melzer probably not interested in getting walk-over because of potential collision with Thiem’s next rounds in singles.

So they (who?) arranged ad hoc- team, featuring Verdasco and Kohlschreiber and set them to play Thiem&Melzer on Court 2 (what an honour!!!) but who knows, when?

Right now starts another doubles on this Court and Kohlschreiber will need “suitable rest” (who knows, when his Djoko-Match ends – maybe 3-setter?).

In the weather forecasts there are showers predicted to start around 19:00 CEST.

Is there a chance for this doubles to happen?

But, as always, I don’t like Thiem playing doubles before singles (he must play his second round singles match tomorrow, so playing doubles today late night or tomorrow after singles and (hopefully) before singles scheduled for Thursday would be absurd.

If I was Massú, I would let Thiem pull out from doubles too, but … he is teamed up with Melzer and would not accept this solution. Melzer plays only doubles and both plan to play doubles in another tournaments (probably Barcelona and Rome).

Let’s see, what happens 🙁

Updated 16.04.2019, 16:30


(click to watch the full match)

Dominic did look like having some cold. Hopefully nothing serious. The weather in Monaco is far from summer 🙁

The match was good and Dominic+Jürger are a good team – Jürgen is very experienced and successful doubles specialist und Thiem can prepare points with serve and hard groundstrokes.

Updated 16.04.2019, 23:06

BACK TO TACTIC?

If you have read Bresnik’s “DOMINIC THIEM METHOD”, at least the shortened version in my English translation , starting HERE, you will not need any explanation of what I’m referencing to in this … let’s call it analyze. If not, you better start with this lecture.

Almost the whole Thiem’s way with Bresnik was following Bresnik’s vision of a perfect tennis player, applied to the small and fragile, but infinitely passionate boy.

There was no place for TACTIC on this way.  Getting physically and mentally hard. Learning movement and shots. Everything beyond the limits of perfection. Quite “simple” way. Do everything perfect and you can deliver everything. Yes, but Bresnik was aware of the difference between performance and results. For long time results were not relevant. Only performance.

You must be aware of the fact, Bresnik was never an active tennis player. He knows of course a lot about tactic and knows, from some point it will be necessary to win big tournaments. But he himself cannot teach it.

So Dominic went this way, improving every year, also achieving more and more. But still no BIG BANG. Still no ability to be mentally ready to win 2-3 matches in a row against top players. This way ends just short before big titles.

If Bresnik was a fan of writing (he is not), he would sit down now and start to write the EPILOGUE to his book.

Where would he start? No, not in RG final last year. It was the Grand Slam final, but lost.

Now Thiem needed one more step ahead, just not to reach but to win those finals.

The PRELUDE was probably the US OPEN 2018 QF. The match for life, but … still lost. But it was just one meter to go.

This one meter was made in Indian Wells this year.

Dominic needed TACTIC, because this was just the missing last step. And Nicolas Massú was the NEW MASTER. Able to teach Dominic, how to use his perfect skills to win. How to add small (fair of course) tricks (prohibited before – being kind of “cheating”). How to save energy (for the next match/es). How to make use of weaknesses of every single opponent (yes, even Federer has them). How to wait for opportunities instead of hitting every shot for a winner. How to catch the winning virus and play like killer, even if his internal aggression ‘s level is low. A kind of love your foes, but first kill them.

I believe, this is Dominic Thiem version 2019 we will see until the end of the year. There is no win guarantee even if you have everything: movement, shots, tactic. But the chance is by one step bigger.

Because Thiem understands now, the Indian Wells title was more than the decent loss in Roland Garros final. He knows now, he must not stop just one step before the glorious end.

So let’s revert the title of this article – not BACK TO TACTIC but AHEAD TO TACTIC 🙂

Updated 5.04.2019, 14:27

THIEM & AGGRESSION

Who read Bresnik’s book (if not, HERE you find it in my English translation of last 11. part), will recall this text:

Dominic found his way of being aggressive.: to have joy in playing out his skills and capabilities.  The stronger the opponent, the bigger the arena, the higher the expectations, the better. He goes through, because he can do things better than the opponent. And when he cannot do it better, he practices so long until he can.

This seemed to be the only way for Dominic to win. He would have some big wins pro season but not much. After one big win his “winning capability” in mental terms was exhausted. Winning big match against Djokovic, next losing badly to Nadal. Defeating Nadal in Madrid, next losing badly to Zverev. A.s.o. Not much chances to win big titles.


Where blows the wind from?

The big change started IMO at US Open 2018, in the epic QF match against Nadal. Unfortunately lost  and even Nadal seemed to be disappointed, Dominic lost it. Partly because he respects Dominic’s big fighting spirit, partly because he knew, he would be not able to really compete in next stage(s). In fact he was “disabled” until today, about half a year. This devastating was his effort to play Dominic about 5 hours  long. But Dominic was fresh and looked like he could play another 5 hours after change-over.

What happened before?

Dominic had very bad preparation before US open – injuries and virus infections, one after other.

Last week before US Open after losing first round in Canada and missing Cincinnati, it was the last chance. Dominic has worked hard with Bresnik – at the John McEnroes Tennis Academy in NYC. JME found time to hit an hour with Dominic. And I have seen a short interview with both speaking a while after hitting. McEnroe told him something like this: “I like your game. But I didn’t like so much your game in Paris final against Nadal. You should have challenged him more. Because you can”.

I believe – this was the key to switch the aggression trigger. Dominic probably understood, it’s not lack of respect against the opponent, if you beat him, even bagelling.

This was first time to see just in this match against Nadal, the best match of US Open 2018, according to experts and fans.

2 smaller highlights followed it – title in St. Petersburg, where Dominic was accompanied only by friend Lucas Leitner. And SF in Paris Bercy Masters (it was still the London battle). At the end 2 very good matches in London.


Then the bad time came, starting with virus on Tenerife and everything was going wrong until Indian Wells.

Dominic was still not fit in Buenos Aires, even worse in Rio.

But at the same time he started to work with Nicolas Massú and after early loss in Rio there was lot of time for preparation in Indian Wells. With Massú and with his friend, fitness coach Duglas Cordero.

This made the trick. I wrote in another article about Dominic’s body language since first match in IW. It was completely new. And it ended with Dominic’s biggest achievement – IW crown (add to this – by defeating in final the in-form Federer).

Many things changed but let stay here with this one – new kind of aggression was born for Thiem. Big achievement from Massú and Cordero to have re-shaped Thiem this way.

Clay is coming soon. Dominic definitely stays with Massú, at least until the end of 2019 (still 3 slams and a lot of Masters to play). Don’t know, if Cordero will assist Dominic too, but I hope, he will.  Fitness sessions á la Cordero is what Dominic needs more than classic Bresnik drills.

Is Dominic finally on the WINNING WAY, where he will be able to get the maximum from his skills?

If so, don’t think, the whole long work with Bresnik was for nothing. It have created perfect preconditions for winning. Massú and Cordero are perfect triggers to let him use them to win.

Updated 3.04.2019, 12:34

NÍCOLAS MASSÚ – NEW WAYS FOR THIEM

In an interview (here a report in BOLA AMARELA – in Portugues) – Thiem has announced to continue with Massú as a touring coach at least to the end of 2019.

Good news and maybe new, more promising ways  for Thiem.

Massú proved in Indian Wells (together with Duglas Cordero, a fitness coach from Miami, who coached Massú himself during his active time), they were able to add just what Thiem missed so far (maybe the main reason of many bitter losses so far).

Thiem has perfect basic skills from Bresnik. But Bresnik was never an active player and nobody can blame him for not being able to give Thiem things, only active player can really understand and teach). It’s mental and physical scenario for preparations and matches against every single opponent. They are different and the same skill-based tactic “Full ahead” cannot solve different tasks, when you play tough and experienced middle-class player in first round and one of greats in semifinals or finals.

Indian Wells was a masterpiece of the duo Massú+Cordero.

You can see how different is fitness preparation with Cordero HERE (more game- and aggression-oriented) , when compared with Reinprecht’s off-season fitness preparation (more endurance-oriented).

I think, Thiem needs both – Reinprecht in the off-season prep and Cordero on the tour.

Massú is simply by his character a perfect “addition” to Thiem, streaming positive energy in training (probably not so exhausting as usual Bresnik’s drills) and in the player’s box. And preparing tactics for every match. Saving energy in early rounds but still winning with confidence. Exploding on the finish line. And lots of other details.

This all made a perfect mix of Thiem’s long-term learned skills and general fitness and something like fire+water together – aggression, when needed, relax and confidence,  when needed.

The big win in IW (DOUBLE BIG – in a big hard court tournament and against in-form Federer, the most difficult obstacle, you can find in a final of a big tournament).

I’m eager to see, how it works on clay. I guess – we will see rather Thiem from Madrid 2018 than from Paris 2018). With better chances for some Masters on clay and of course the biggest highlight in Paris, but then still on grass and hard-court in USA (including US Open) and the final part of the season – hard court Masters in Asia/Europe).

The future is bright 🙂

Updated 1.04.2019, 20:33


MASSÚ IN THE FAMILY 🙂

Updated 1.04.2019, 20:42


THIEM BEFORE AND IN THE CLAY SEASON – with Masú, without Bresnik???

This is the English translation of Thiem’s interview for tennisnet.com (original in German you find HERE)

Dominic Thiem before the clay court season: “That would be the next step”

Dominic Thiem already cancelled the start of the Olympic Summer Games 2020 in Tokyo on Monday afternoon. Instead, Austria’s number one player prefers to compete at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel.

“Tokyo is a beautiful city. But I’d still rather spend a week more in Kitzbühel. The decision wasn’t particularly difficult,” said Thiem.

Already in Rio de Janeiro 2016 Thiem was not at the start, although he would have been eligible for the tournament with his place in the world rankings. But the Olympics are not completely removed from Thiem’s career planning. Already now he is planning to compete at the following games in Paris 2024 – on clay, mind you. “I will definitely play them. Once in my career I want to do that. Then I’d be 31, which might be my last games,” Thiem explained.

For the first time this year in Kitzbühel at darkness will be played. In Night Sessions, fans can look forward to world-class tennis in more pleasant conditions. Thiem will be playing for the first time on Wednesday.

Thiem also confirmed his intention to continue working with his touring coach Nicolas Massu at least until the end of 2019. “The overall package fits. He is a nice guy, has an incredibly positive charisma like many South Americans. What distinguishes him the most is how he goes along in the matches,” Thiem enthused about the Chileans.

With Massu at his side, Thiem was the greatest career success to date at the Masters in Indian Wells a few weeks ago. “It was a huge week. From the bottom of Rio to the top – I’m really happy to have this first big title,” said the current world number five. “I rank it higher than the Paris finals, especially when you see Federer continue to play in Miami.

The Swiss had lost the final in Indian Wells to Thiem, but only two weeks later he won the 101st title of his career in Miami. Thiem, on the other hand, lost a second round against Hubert Hurkacz.

“The next step would be to continue playing just as well after such a tournament as Federer did in Miami. It all comes with experience,” Thiem gave the route. But he also pointed out that his performance in Miami had by no means been a bad one.

“The density in men’s tennis is higher than ever before in my active time. But I have to be there at every tournament. At the upcoming Masters, there will be a lot of thrills waiting – right from the first round,” Thiem warned.

Since his return from the USA, Thiem took a one-and-a-half-day break before starting training on sand. Since last weekend, the 25-year-old has been doing it outdoors in the southern city. Next Monday he will go to Monte Carlo, where the first Masters tournament of the year will take place on clay.

“Most of the players are there early. I can train well with them. Winning Madrid or Rome is my big goal. Maybe I can lay a good foundation in Monte Carlo,” Thiem said.

Thiem lacked this especially at the beginning of the season, when he was stopped by an infection at the Australian Open. In retrospect, the twelve-time ATP tournament winner admitted to making mistakes in his preparations for the season. He would have resumed training too early after the 2018 season had ended.

“Two or three years ago I ended the season really badly. That wasn’t the case in 2018,” Thiem said. He would have played “exhausting matches” in Paris-Bercy and at the season finale in London. “That’s what makes the difference. Next time I’ll take another half week break before I go into the preparation. It all comes with experience.”

Somewhat surprisingly, Thiem’s long-time coach Günter Bresnik was missed at the press conference on Monday. Thiem also completed the training session a few hours earlier with his father Wolfgang, while Bresnik trained with Ernests Gulbis a few meters away in the hall.

“In 15, 16 years we have spent more time together than with our respective families, there are ups and downs. That’s why it was clear to us that it’s not good for him to go to all the tournaments. It’s good that Massu is expanding Team Thiem, we’ll see everything else,” said the 2018 French Open finalist. “It’s all the same.”

Who will accompany him to Monte Carlo is not fixed yet. Only the coming days should bring a decision, Thiem explained.”

Updated 2.04.2019, 13:20


Interview with  Massú

(the German original you find HERE)

Neo-Coach speaks

Thiem-Coach Massú: “He can become number 1”

He is two-time Olympic champion from 2004 in Athens, former number 9 in ATP ranking and Chilean Davis Cup captain for five years. The new man at Dominic Thiem’s side is Nicolas Massú. The 38-year-old Chilean, who has been Touring Coach Thiems since the tournament in Buenos Aires for almost two months, is now the sole responsible coach of the Austrian, now fifth in the world rankings.

Massú is a popular hero in Chile, as he was the first Chilean athlete ever to win the first Olympic gold medals for his country – initially in doubles with Fernando Gonzalez and 24 hours later also in singles. He ended his career in August 2013 and took up the job as Davis Cup captain a week later. “I didn’t retire because I was tired of tennis, but because I had a lot of injuries. But this is my life, I dedicate my whole life to tennis,” said Massú in the run-up to the first appearance of his new protégé Dominic Thiem at the Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo.

Davis Cup surprise

Looking back, it’s almost strange that Thiem had to cancel the home Davis Cup against Chile at the beginning of February. This at least eased the South Americans’ 3-2 away win over the ÖTV team in Salzburg for a place at the lucrative Davis Cup final tournament in Madrid. “Yes, that’s unbelievable. It was an incredible year for me because we moved up to the Davis Cup World Group after eight years. I started with some of those players when they were 16 years old. Every country wants a Dominic Thiem on their team. But because he didn’t play, we had more chances and fought to the last ball,” Massú looked back.

Call from Bresnik

Even before the first ball was hit in Salzburg, Thiem coach Günter Bresnik had called. And so Massú should support Thiem very soon on the same side of the court. “I know Günter since he travelled with (Stefan) Koubek. Then I went to Buenos Aires and was alone in Rio. They have confidence in me and I will do everything I can to help him,” Massú promised.

That Thiem had now separated from Bresnik in sporting matters was not mentioned at the time. Massú doesn’t want to comment on this either, at least he had contact with Thiem’s long-term coach beforehand. “Dominic must know what is best for him. He must be happy. Fans and media always think only of the results. The most important thing is the good environment and that he is happy, then good results come easier,” believes Massú.

Massú is not only passionate about this sport, he also shows it as a coach on the Davis Cup bench as well as in Thiem’s player box. “I am now in another part of my life. Before, I was the one who ran and fought, now I feel the same way. I play every match with Dominic. If he wins, I’m happy, if he loses, I’m sad. We have a very good connection, he is also a great person,” the six-time tournament winner praised Thiem.

Now the most important person is Dominic, that’s not me or anyone else. He is now number 5 in the world and he is 25 years old. The tournament in Indian Wells gave him a lot of self-confidence.” Thiem also proved once more that he is not just a clay court specialist. “He can play very well on all surfaces.

New Fitness Coach

Massú does not want to make any major changes to Thiem. “He is 25 and a complete player. But sometimes very small changes make a big difference,” said the Chilean. An important component in the new “Team Thiem” is played not only by dedicated physio Alex Stober, but also by neo-fitness coach Duglas Cordero, whom Thiem shares with Fabio Fognini. Massú had brought the Cuban to Rio de Janeiro. “I told him we needed a fitness trainer as soon as possible and spoke,” said Massú.

Physical condition VERY improved

After consultation with Fognini’s Coach, an agreement was quickly reached. “There are a lot of players on the tour who share the fitness coach, that’s normal.” What Cordero and Thiem achieved in a short time, made Massú “very surprised”. “In a month, Dominic has HIGHLY improved his physical fitness.” Massú has already recognized how quickly Thiem can implement his goals. Bresnik also praised the French Open finalist 2018 for this again and again. “If you say something to him, he can implement it immediately.”

Almost 24 hours a day together

Two months ago, Massu and Thiem didn’t know each other, now they see each other very intensively. “This is like a marriage. It is not so easy when you do not know someone and then from one day to the other you suddenly spend almost 24 hours a day together. But Thiem is also a great person off the red dirt and there is also a good understanding with Thiems parents.

I had a similar game

His own input as an ex-player? “I understand how he plays, I had a similar game,” said Massú, who still hits the ball very well. “I’m 38, I feel the ball coming, I can practice with him. I still have a lot of energy and that’s my way, too”. Massú doesn’t mind that he will travel a lot again. “I was always like that. For me it would be strange if I always stayed at home.

The future number one?

And he believes, Thiem can still achieve a lo. “One day he can become number 1: he has the age, the talent and the power and he is number 5 in the world. And Masú will probably spend time in Austria more often in the future. Because Thiem doesn’t want to give up his “homebase” and train in his home country, as he also confirmed in Monte Carlo. After a commitment in Chile, Massú will come to Vienna for a few days before the tournament in Madrid.

Updated 17.04.2019. 07:54

THIEM vs. HURKACZ

First in the singles competition is my compatriot, Hubert Hurkacz, after a good run into QF in Indian Wells.

Another kind of opponent. 196 cm tall but not a big server. Instead very patient  defensive baseliner, making only few unforced errors but missing any special dangerous shot. Waiting for the opponent to make an error, so … better don’t do too much 🙂

If Thiem is still in form from IW and not fatigued after IW, Hurkacz should be not a big obstacle, but – this is, as always, a tricky first match (against opponent, who did play one just yesterday and will be confident.

Update 21.03.2019, 13:43


Match scheduled for today, 7.00pm Miami time (00:00 CET tomorrow = midnight from  March 22nd to 23rd)

Updated 22.03.2019, 10:52


FULL MATCH RECORD

(click the image to watch)

Thiem was 50% still in Indian Wells (the physical and emotional energy he used there out), 50% just on European clay. The calculation was simple. No chance to go very deep in Miami or if then with great risk for clay season preparation. He didn’t gave the match away but was not so much involved and motivated. Hurkacz played well and was able to convert offered opportunities (both in Thiem’s last serving games).

Just like Massú told, early loss in Rio was kind allowing to prepare well for the IW success, maybe early exit in Miami was necessary to have enough time to prepare well for European Clay Swing, which is in many aspects still the crucial part of the year and the main big goal is of course Paris.

So “don’t cry for me, Argentina” 😉

Updated 23.03.2019, 09:06

MIAMI OPEN 2019

Well, we have first Indian Wells final but we know right now, when the main draw of MIAMI OPEN 2019 will be made – 12.30pm local time (17.30 CET).

For seeding the ATP ranking on Monday will be taken. Because Nadal withdraws from Miami, Thiem will be seeded in first 4 even if losing today.

This is good news, meaning, he cannot meet Federer before SF and Djokovic/Zverev before the final.

Updated 17.03.2019, 10:55


MAIN DRAW AND POTENTIAL PATH

MiamiOpen2019WithQualifiers

Potential path: BYE>HURKACZ>FUCSOVIC/ALIASSIME>BASILASHVILI>CORIC/KYRGIOS>DJOKOVIC/ISNER/RAONIC>FEDERER/A.ZVEREV/TSITSIPAS

Updated 18.03.2019, 18:54


Thiem starts in Miami again with doubles – teamed up with Steve Johnson. 

Let it be a short warm-up and don’t go for a win to not be required to play another doubles, when singles competition will develop.

It’s second match after 11.00 am Miami time (around 18:00 Vienna time.

Probably not streamed.

Updated 21.03.2019, 13:36


UPDATE

Monfils pulled out so this makes Basilashvili the potential opponent for round 3. Nishikori lost today so Coric or Kyrgios for potential QF.

But before Aliassime just winning first set and should Thiem advance, he is going to be third round opponent. Dangerous! 

Updated 22.03.2019, 21:45

THIEM vs. FEDERER

FIRST FINAL IN HARD COURT MASTERS AND AGAINST DREAM OPPONENT 🙂

The match is scheduled as not before 3.30 pm (23.30 CET)

Thank you, Nico. You made Thiem to really know how to use tools developed for years with BRESNIK. Thank you both :)))

Updated 16.03.2019, 22:59


SHORT MATCH PREVIEW

As mostly, we have more questions than answers, we know only general things. It’s not enough to predict the result, but it’s enough to expect good tennis. Thiem’s win would be symbolic, even if their H2H (some special conditions of matches played so far) if 2:2 could suggest, they both have tools to beat each other.

We know actually nothing about Federer’s form, because he was so far not seriously tested in IW.

We know, Thiem is in good form, which started just here, after all the health problems, started in Tenerife.  We know, Massú seems to be a perfect match as touring coach (they will decide, if it goes further  first after Miami bus fo far it seems to go perfectly. Lots of changes in Tiem’s game since Massú. More aggressive approach,  more confidence and stability, less winners (no more FULL AHEAD at every shot) but also less unforced errors, meaning higher reliability in the game. Much higher stats both for serve and return. Staying closer to the baseline and hitting (still hard) also if taking the ball early. But still able to hit long and hard from far behind the baseline, if necessary (was partly necessary against Karlovic and Raonic). Negatives? So far not visible, but … today it will be Federer. And Thiem almost didn’t play a “normal” game (only Thompson and Simon, Monfils didn’t happen, then Karlovic and Raonic – not a “normal” tennis, rather “survival tests” 😉

The win and trophy would be maybe the most important win in Thiem’s career (maybe after Paris final). But the final is also amazing in terms of achievements and developing direction all-courter.  So he can play relaxed and focused. The pressure will be on Federer – he is supposed to win, runner-up not big deal for him. Only title counts. Which does not mean much, because pressure is something, Federer is living with over years.

If Thiem delivers some decent game or maybe makes the match close, it’s good enough.

Maybe the first time they play each other, being both healthy and in good form. Expect good spectacle and enjoy 🙂

Updated 17.03.2019, 14:54


Full match record with ceremony 🙂

(click the im,age to watch)

Every word of the comment is ONE WORD TOO MUCH. Watch be happy and enjoy 🙂

I hope to find later some time to compile most memorable moments of the match.

Updated 18.03.2019,  10:21


Memorable moments still need some extra time. In the meantime, instead of descriptive comment (there are so many available on different media), what was there in the ALL-IN-ONE PACKAGE?

  • First big title (Masters or Grand Slam)
  • Big rise in the ranking, now 4.
  • Seeded 3. in Miami
  • Regained lead in H2H against Federer
  • Another level of the hard court game
  • Crazy beginning of the relation with new touring coach, Nicolas Masú (I would expect, this one will last longer)
  • Bad blood left in Indian Wells 😉
  • Lots of happiness around the world
  • Side effect: hundreds of users reading parts of English translation (sorry, it’s not perfect, because I’m not a native-speaker) of DOMINIC THIEM METHOD

If you are aware of more – let’s post in comments 🙂

Updated 18.03.2019, 13:28


MEMORABLE MOMENTS

you mostly don’t realize because of fast action and emotions. Enjoy 🙂

Updated 18.09.2019, 22:05


Quite an interesting article about Thiem’s success in Indian Wells at McShow Blog

Updated 21.06.2019, 14:06