THIEM vs. TSITSIPAS

This is Dominic’s opponent for tomorrow

Updated 26.04.2018, 14:32


Dominic leads Tsitsipas by 2:0 so far, but they never played on clay.

The match starts at 12.30 on Pista Rafael Nadal.  Weather forecast: 20°C, partly sunny, no rain 🙂

Updated 26.04.2018, 18:34


Some of you may be worried about Dominic’s not optimal performance in both first matches.

But if you observe Dominic for a long time, you will know, it’s just his character. Because of missing “killer instinct” Dominic cannot unfold all his strength again weaker opponents. A kind of “being sorry” for the underdog or a hurt opponent (famous Delpo match at US Open 2017). After he is challenged and on the brink of losing the match, he does not perceives the opponent as underdog anymore. That’s when he can unfold all his powers.

Well – may look risky and is in fact sometimes. But that’s his character. Don’t we like him for just being emphatic, friendly and humble? Maybe some don’t and would rather like to see him as a serial killer. But he isn’t and will never be.

What he can the best is to fight against own weakness. By learning all the time. By working hard in training. And than in every shot and every rally. This is wearing down the emotional energy. Explaining such things like losing badly to Djokovic after having beaten Rafa (Rome 2017) or losing easily to Rafa after beating Djokovic (Paris 2017).

We cannot choose one from many Dominics. We have only one 🙂

Good luck tomorrow 🙂

Updated 26.04.2018, 22:23


Update about the opponent

Tsitsipas is of course a developing player, but don’t misinterpret (like ATP does, as always for hype) his last results.

I have watched a bit his matches in Barcelona against Schwartzman and Vinolas. Yes, both are established names on clay. But both Diego and Albert are since longer time in a deep form low. Last tournament Diego played well was Rio de Janeiro. Last tournament Albert played well was last year. So Tsitsipas was not challenged in both matches. What he can was simply enough.

Tsotsipas’ this year’s achievements are

Doha – lost in QF to Thiem (defeating first Florian Mayer and Richard Gasquet)

ASB Classic – lost in first round to Lukas Lacko

Auistralian Open – lost in first round to Denis Shapovalov

Quimper Challenger – lost to Quentin Halys in SF

Open Sud de France – – lost in first round to Jeremy Chardy

ABN Amro (Rotterdam) – lost in first round qualifying to Martin Klizan

Open 13 Provence – lost in first round to Nicholas Mahut

Open Region Guadeloupe (Challenger) – lost in second round to Christian Garin

Monte Carlo – lost in second round to David Goffin

He is this year 6 to 9 matches (6 won, 9 lost) overall and 1 to 1 on clay (now 4:1 including matches in Barcelona).

Of course may be all of a sudden a big form has come ??? We’ll see in some hours 🙂

Updated 27.04.2018, 09:29


Just read an article about Rafa dominating opponents’s serve on ATP website, written by Craig O’Shannessy and my conclusion for Rafa’s opponents (hopefully Dominic in Barcelona or later). Don’t serve wide out against Rafa and don’t serve with kick. This all gives Rafa time to return the way, he overtakes the command in the following rally.

Serve flat (faster, so less time for the returner) to the T (the shortest way for the ball to reach the returner). Both factors take pieces of time, Rafa needs, staying far behind the baseline to exercise full swing and make the return long, so he can immediately start to be the attacking part´.

If Rafa comes closer to the baseline, then hit flat to the body, sometimes wide out but it must be really wide.

Updated 27.04.2018, 12:26


Click the image to watch the full match record.

No good news, but not only about the loss.

I have watched parts of the match once more from the recording and I fear, Dominic’s issue with the ankle may be back. I would like this not to be true, but simply bad day in the office.

Nevertheless my observations tell me other things.

Why was serving performance so bad? Not only in this, but also in first 2 matches in Barcelona and actually starting in the match against Rafa in Monte Carlo. Maybe something happened in the match against Djoker? Must not have been some acute incident. If the ankle is not yet fully recovered, at some time things start to go worse and if you think, it’s maybe nothing serious and continue the load, it’s going worse until it does not go anymore.

My impression is, this started in the Djoker match but was not (yet) an obstacle for good game and win.

Again Rafa it was probably a try to play the match with some self-protection, then some days for recovery and in matches against Munar and Kovalik the serve was poor, but opponents not good enough to win.

Try to watch some serves in today’s match (there is a slow-motion option on Dropbox) – the movements sequence at the serve is not normal. Apparently trying to protect and not overload the right foot.

If you play tennis yourself, you will know, if you have something with right foot, you can still play well forehand (the left foot is under main load) and partly change your movement for the backhand, but you cannot do this for the serve. Right foot is under load at the beginning (it’s the spring which must be loaded before tossing the ball and most of the power of the serve comes just from the right leg. Then after the jump when hitting you must land first on the left foot but then on the right to catch balance. If you cannot because of some issue with right leg, you cannot hit the serve with the usual strength.

And here a short clip from today’s match, showing IMO a grimace of pain. Dominic is hard (did play against Cuevas in IW with ankle crack one whole set before asking for medical aid) and if he shows grimaces of pain, it’s something serious. I hope, I’m wrong – one match lost is not so bad as a recurring injury.

Well, maybe not the ankle but bad day in the office. Not the end of the world. Another opportunity to learn or simply overcome the weakness of the day, whatever it was 🙂 This is how Dominic sees today’s match on Instagram. Next Madrid. Right. And then Rome and Paris And then a couple of other tournaments. Maybe 2018 not the “clay year”?

Updated 27.04.2018, 21:19

THIEM vs. KOVALIK

Next difficult opponent. Guido Pella, is out. Dominic’s next opponent is Jozef Kovalik, another unknown. I will watch later parts of his match vs. Pella to know, if the match was lost by Pella or won by Kovalik.

It’s first match on Pista Rafa Nadal, starting at 11.00 CEST.

Weather forecast – similar to today’s weather, 1-2°C cooler.

More comment and prediction later today.

Updated 25.04.2018, 19:48

Just watched parts of Pella-Kovalik match. It was rather Pella losing than Kovalik winning. Should not be a real danger for Thiem.

This is how Kovalik plays

Updated 25.04.2018, 21:31


Weather forecast for Barcelona.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/es/barcelona/307297/hourly-weather-forecast/307297?hour=33

Thunderstorms can happen tomorrow around 11:00, so there can be some delay of the first match.

Updated 25.04.2018, 22:51


Looking Kovaliks profile he is some classes weaker than Thiem and even being in about the same age not a rising star. How could he beat Pella, who is not a top but classy player? Pella is in a crisis since Buenos Aires, losing mostly in first rounds and Kovalik is a challenger hero – rather not a hero, but participant, no meaningful success there. Not a candidate to make Sandgren-like surprise.

Match prediction: Thiem wins 6:2, 6:3

Updated 26.04.2018, 07:33


Weather update from Netatmo station in Barcelona no rain so far):

Updated 26.04.2018, 08:51


Click the image to watch the full match

(the link will work in about 1 hour – at 14.30, the record is just being prepared)

 

Not a good tactics. Too much of the same. Lots of good shots not bringing the effect. Everyone played for a winner but coming back. It’s quite easy on some level, not necessary top. If the opponent hits hard and you are able to run and have some experience, you use the power of the hard hitter to bring the ball back. The faster and heavier the shot, the faster is the ball back. This way the hard hitter uses lot of own power and lets the risk of own errors rise. There were moments, when Dominic did play dropshots or slices to mix-up things and disturb the rhythm of the opponent, which almost always ended with point won. But too seldom. At the end it showed to be enough, but the match could have finished in 1 hour.

But it’s maybe genetics. This is the game Dominic loves. Hitting winners. “Volle Post” (Bresnik’s saying from Dominic’s young years).

Dominic can much more than hit hard shots, can slice very well, can play dropshots, short balls to take the opponent to  the net and punish him with passing shot or lob. This was not there today, but must be back against next opponents (probably Tsitsipas/Dimitrov/Nadal).

But well “Winners do not think” 😉

Updated 26.04.2018, 13:16

THIEM vs. MUNAR

Dominic’s opponent in his first match in Barcelona is 20 years old Barcelona resident and Nadal’s protegee  Jaume Munar. Never heard about?  Here’s his profile http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/players/jaume-munar/mu94/overview

It’s the second match tomorrow on Pista 1 not the Center Court, so it starts about 13.00 (first match on this court starts at 11.00).

Prediction (we don’t know much about the opponent and he will have a big support of Barcelona crowd), but … very young and low ranked, it must be an easy win for Thiem: 6:2, 6:4

Updated 24.04.2018, 8:51


Just an impression of how Jaume Munar looks like (183 cm and 78 kg, but looks athletic for this age) and how he plays. Good in defense, running well and building points smartly (if the opponent allows). No big serve.  This single rally shows well his typical abilities.

Updated 24.04.2018, 20:29


One obstacle less on Dominic’s path

Verdasco has withdrawn from the tournament and today Pella is playing (and probably winning) the first round match, so if Dominic overcomes Munar, next will be Pella. Dominic is 2:2 with Pella, but won last two matches, in AO (top level match with a big tweener from Dominic)  and in Buenos Aires.

Updated 25.04.2018, 09:28


First here is the full match record for those, who could not watch live or simply want to relive the match or it’s part once more 🙂

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ud422kikofwvt0u/ThiemMunarBarcelona.mp4?dl=0

The comment comes later, because I need to watch the match once more before. Maybe first after 22.00.

Updated 25.04.2018, 19:54


First words of the comment belong to the crowd. I have shortly praised Spanish crowds in a general article about Fans and crowds in tennis.

In this match, played against the local young hero, Barcelona native and resident, you can see once more, how the best crowd on Earth looks like. Applauding every good shot with the same intensity, if it’s from own hero or the opponent. No applause for opponent’s errors. Big credits to Spanish tennis fans (not comparable with international hysteric FedFans).

Then it’s big credits to the loser. Jaume Munar is going to be a force at least on clay (didn’t see him playing on other surfaces. Lot of touch feeling, fast and hard shots, fast on feet, aggressive, was able to take Thiem time in the first set.

Now Dominic. First set was a tough test for him – Munar was trying to repeat the game, which worked so well for Verdasco in Rio de Janeiro and Dominic was in deeper defense than he likes to be. Who thinks still, Dominic is mentally weak and need a mental coach, should watch this match twice ore more. With all ups and downs and some crazy shots of Munar, Thiem would lose easily if not his mental strength.

The real thriller was the tiebreaker.  Excellent return to break to 1:0, rebreak at 4:2 for Munar to level the TB, by hitting lightning backhand on the line, then both holding serves until new break from Dominic with fine backhand to 9:8 .and a good serve plus combination of two big forehands.  Excellent shots from both sides.

Since 1 all in second set it was an one-way-affair. Thiem playing every game more aggressive, serving great, everything sitting. This is Dominic’s form, in which he can defeat Rafa. Of yourse both must first reach the final 🙂

Updated 25.04.2018, 21:10

 

BARCELONA OPEN 2018

Monte Carlo not yet over, but the draw for Barcelona is out. Here is it:

BarcelonaDraw

Finally a good draw for Dominic 😎. Rafa, Djoker, Nishikori, Goffin all in upper half.

Dominic’s potential path: BYE>Sousa>Pella/Verdasco>Schwartzman/Tsitsipas/Ramos Vinolas>Dimitrov/Carreño Busta/Rublev/Sandgren(???)>Rafa

God bless, Dominic, this time maybe a title in Barcelona 🎾💓🍀🌞🏆😍


Barcelona weather now and forecast from Netatmo station

Updated 21.04.2018, 21:30


Thiem&Team in Barcelona 🙂

The 2 older boys 😉 are of course: Alex Stober and Galo Blanco. No information, if Bresnik goes to Barcelona

Meanwhile Kiki wins in FedCup and Domi sends 💓💓💓

Updated 21.04.2018, 22:29


And that’s how it happened – the man with the lucky hand for Dominic was Feliciano Lopez- thank you, Feli 🐱🐻🐰🍀🍀🍀 (not that happy for himself – Djoker in second, Rafa in third round – exactly Dominic’s draw from Monte Carlo, poor Feli, never defeated Nadal on clay 😪)


First Practice in Barcelona

Updated 22.04.2018, 19:48


New role – Dominic as DJ for the players’ party in Barcelona 🙂

Updated 23.04.2018, 09:0


Weird! Dominic is set to play doubles, teamed up with Hyeong Chung, but is not scheduled for today or tomorrow. And so far I understand the draw, everyone, who does not play second round match tomorrow, must play it Wednesday. So what for the doubles? To play doubles and singles the same day???

Updated 24.04.2018, 16:46


Whatever it means ???

Updated 28.04.2018, 21:12


Better mood in Vienna? 🙂

Updated 29.04.2018, 20:56


Looks like message to Dominic, but where from? Kiki is not playing any tournament at this time.

Updated 30.04.2018, 14:34

THIEM VS. NADAL

Monte Carlo “FINAL” is tomorrow.  Second match of the day, just like today 🙂

Updated 19.04.2018, 17:53


No need for a long comment. The match was short. Nadal in top form, so there was no chance to win or for an even battle. Dominic after 2 long and intense matches after long pause worn out probably first of all mentally.

As the TV operator displayed, only few did beat both Djoker and Rafa in the same tournament (on any surface even Federer only once). An intense match against a top player is a big challenge for young players.

At the start Dominic was a kind of absent. First serve did not work. Second serve is something, Rafa wins the highest percent on Tour against anyone.  Dominic knew this and tried to hit second serve hard. But it’s not easy to play second serve against such opponent. In the second set Dominic improved first serve ans was able to win 2 own service games.

Next is Barcelona and good thing is – Dominic is fit, the loss forgotten, 2 days more for mental recovery and physical preparation. Hopefully better draw and maybe Rafa first in the final? And no Djoker directly before?

After all, this was time for regaining the game and competition level and at the same time to not risk the foot. In this terms it was satisfying. Djoker was disappointed but still satisfied about his progress.

“Mañana será otro día “, like Spaniards use to say 😉


Not sure, if someone will want to watch the reply of the match, but I’m collecting all Dominic’s matches, so in 1-2 hours expect here the link to the full match record.

Here is it

https://www.dropbox.com/s/38yuqmgunwrvsjv/ThiemNadalMC.mp4?dl=0

See you in Barcelona 🙂

Updated 20.04.2018, 15:03


Rafa about Thiem defeat

Yes, Rafa knows, something strange has happened on the other side.

Should we think all the time about this?

No, we shouldn’t, such things happen. After an emotionally (not mentally) tough match the player can not be able to get emotionally into the next match, whoever the opponent. This was the case there and, knowing a lot about Dominic, I think, it would happen also against another opponent. But maybe still enough to win. Impossible against Rafa. But this is only the start of their meetings on clay. Expect better matches and maybe big wins. Monte Carlo was always Dominic’s problematic tournament. Add the worst draw possible on the comeback from injury. That’s all.

Once more something learned, disappointment forgotten. Emotions will still be there, because Dominic is too humble to assume, he can be a serious killer against top players and he will be always emotional in such big matches. Sometimes winning, sometimes losing, sometimes being empty and absent. That’s life. That’s sport. That’s Dominic, we love 🙂

Updated 22.04.2018, 07:36


EPILOGUE

Mist of you have not, but I wanted to know better, how it came with Thiem against Nadal. Why the hell the “easiest” defeat from Rafa among all other opponents in MC, just against the “second best man on clay”?

Let’s aside, Dominic was coming back from injury and after 2 intense matches before, was maybe a bit worried, something could happen to his ankle in a third match after rehab. Maybe unconscious.

I did observe Dominic’s game carefully. What was that bad in his game?

First it was first serve – very low percentage. Why? Dominic knows Rafa by heart and knew in what a big form he is. Knowing he must be very aggressive to have some chance, he was almost always trying to hit an ace or service winner. It works only seldom against such a good defensor as Rafa. And if it does not work, you start to be nervous on serve – which leads to even more serve errors, including double faults.

If we compare the number of games won by others against Nadal in MC, it seems, they all were closer to an even match or to maybe the win. But (let’s forget Bedene, who does not fit here but is not a comparable class)) all others were typically defensive players: Khachanov, Dimitrov, Nishikori. They all did play a defensive game, waiting for Nadal’s errors. Of course not a chance to win against Rafa, who is an outstanding defensor and switches easily, on every occasion (a bit too short ball) to an attack, playing not only long but sharper angles, most of them winners.  But they have hold more service games this way. All three won 5 games for the match each. Much more than Dominic’s 2. But 2 or 5 in two sets, what’s the difference? The match clearly lost in all cases. 5 games won is not even enough to win 1 set!

Dominic was the only one to try to attack – this went well in 2 games of the second set and if he was not after injury and 2 intense matches, he would maybe go for more, making the match close.  But of course – Rafa was in a great shape, no injury before, all matches 2-setters, so no fatigue, rather nice sparrings than really competitive matches.

Given this all Dominic had almost no chance to win and attacking is his usual game and the only chance to defeat Rafa (like he did in Rome 2017 in an extremely aggressive performance).

I don’t look for excuses for Dominic. They are not necessary. I look for prospects for upcoming tournaments, including started yesterday Barcelona.

I think, after 2 very good matches in MC (and Dominic’s best result in Monte Carlo ever) and some days for preparation for Barcelona Dominic can find his A game there and hold it until Paris.

This is why I expect deep runs in all 4 tournaments: Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Paris.

Given Nadal’s exceptional form would be of course better to meet him first in final, but Dominic in exceptional form can beat Rafa being in exceptional form. And Rafa has more on the counter and who knows, how long he can hold this form? Maybe he will not go for everything in 1 or 2 before Paris, because Paris is of course the most important.

Where, do you think, comes first Dominic’s win over Rafa this season? IMO, if not Barcelona, then again in Rome.

Updated 24.04.2018, 13:01

THIEM vs. DJOKOVIC

Not the prime-time Djoker, so I if Thiem play like against Rublev … should be more than enough 🙂

Schedule for tomorrow not released so far.

Updated 18.04.2018, 15:44


It’s second match on Center Court, following Struff<>A. Zverev (first match starting at 11.00 CET), so Dominic starts about 12.30 or later.

Updated 18.04.2018, 17:59


Encouraging memory 🙂 It was their “Last Tango in Paris”

FRENCH OPEN 2017

Updated 18.04.2018, 22:02


One more thriller but on the end “First Tango in Monte Carlo” 😵😬👿😍

Full match record just being prepared. The comment comes later today, after watching for the second time, with less emotions 🙂

Updated 19.04.2018, 16:17

Here is the full match record for those who could not watch the match live. I need more time for the analyze and comment for the match – it comes later today.


Before the “real” comment comes, I just recalled two things. A German proverb “Aller guten Dinge sind drei” (All good things go by three) – Tomorrow comes Dominic’s third  match in Monte Carlo after 2 wins in three 😉

And the famous saying of Dolgopolov about Djokovic, some years ago, as he was just going to make an upset. It was about like this (cannot find now, so quoting from memory). Djokovic is like a spider. Playing dead and then suddenly unfolding all his thousand legs and running towards you. Maybe the right comment to the first set today 😉

Updated 19.04.2018, 18:15


Another very intense match.

First set started to easy, Djoker “playing dead”, short rallies, Dominic could not find rhythm. Djoker is an old fox and has the ability to win matches even if in not best form. Waiting for opportunities and then switching for short time to higher gear. Just this happened in the first set.

With the second another story started. Thiem started to play very aggressive, closer to the baseline than he uses to play, so a lots of rallies with both taking balls very early, very fast game with lots of excellent shots from both, but Thierm shooting Djoker out with heavy shots and – not usual for him – hitting best shots on big points.

Quite the same in the third set – big fight but Djoker getting out of gas and Thiem increasing tempo.

Credit to Djoker, who was not playing half that good in his all matches so far in 2018. Maybe regaining top form.


Best moments of the match coming soon 🙂

Updated 19.04.2018, 21:11

First set highlights


And Kiki watching (during her FED Cup preparation)

More highlights to come tomorrow morning

Updated 19.04.2018, 21:59


Best moment from sets 2 and 3


Updated 20.04.2018, 10:41

THIEM vs. RUBLEV

This one time no prediction. First match after injury. We don’t know …

But in any case in 3. round it’s an “…ic” 😉 And in any case a Serbian 😉 Coric waiting now for Djokovic or Lajovic in second round.

Schedule for Dominic’s first match not yet known. Most probable Wednesday, because Rublev cannot be assumed to have 0 or 2 days rest before next round.

But let’s wait – some have played first round on Sunday, so there is some irregularity.

Updated 16.04.2018, 13:59

Sorry, my mistake, Coric is not Serbian but Croat, so maybe not a Serb 😉

Updated 16.04.2018, 15:26


Schedule is out for tomorrow. Dominic plays Rublev tomorrow 11.00 CET on CenterCourt.

BTW _ Djokovic-Lajovic match fixed??? Lajovic didn’t play more than 20%. Djoker was decent but not very good. I see Coric defeating him and Thiem has one day rest before 3. round match. Coric will play Djokovic on Wednesday and the winner plays Thiem on Thursday.

Updated 16.04.2018, 18:57


Weather in Monte Carlo today

Updated 17.04.2018, 09:18


This WAS a THRILLER !!!

High level match from both. We all were worried a bit about Dominic’s foot but it looked good in the match. Well prepared and no rust visible. The same problems as usual with holding serve after winning a break. But nothing to blame this time. It was not easy to create break points. Very many pressure points for both. This time Dominic was better than usual in this aspect. At the end he hold the pressure by one pressure point better than Rublev.  Also credit to Rublev for getting so close to defeat the second-best man on clay 🙂

Rublev played his hard court game. Fast, aggressive, flat shots, solid serve. In the first set Dominic had troubles to find his own rhythm and it was Rublev who controlled the game. Thiem was too deep in defense, maybe a bit unsure with his shots, which is quite normal after long pause.

The win was very important to have some decent start to the European clay swing. With success.

Having to play 3 sets may be an advantage for Dominic before following matches. Fatigue cannot be great after so long pausing. One day rest (rather intensive practice) before next match is also some advantage.

Just preparing the full match record – should be ready in about an hour and the link will be as always posted here.

Updated 17.04.2018, 14:14

WHOLE MATCH RECORD

HOT SHOT OF THE MATCH – 166 kmh return 🐰🍖🔪🚀⚡🔥🎖

Next is waiting for tomorrow’s match Djokovic vs. Coric. My prediction is Coric wins the match and will be next Thiem’s opponent.

Updated 17.04.2018, 16:35

THIEM BEST BACKHANDS, THE WINNING FACTOR !!!

Updated 17.04.2018, 16:48

EPILOGUE

Very, very tough and high-level battle. A bit simplified it looked like this on Dominic’s side.

  • First set: under heavy pressure of very fast and early taken forehands of Rublev, Dominic was in a deep defense and the “dominating” shot was defensive backhand slice, because Rublev placed his cross-court backhands at very sharp angles on Dominic’s backhand side.
  • Second set: Dominic was able to replace backhand slice with topspin backhand, which was the key to the win of this set. Most of points won just with excellent backhands.
  • Third set: Rublev’s forehands were no more so deep and Dominic could add some forehand winners, but the dominating shot was still topspin backhand.

And here are some memorable moments of the match


Updated 17.04.2018, 20:29


And not less important: the loving message from Kiki 🙂

Updated 17.04.2018, 22:37


SOMETHING FOR INSIDERS – HOW IT WORKS

Bresnik permits to hit 400 kmh backhand, Domi performs as requested, Rublev gets nausea. Wouldn’t be good, Bresnik permits this on every big point???

Updated 18.04.2018 09:45

FEDERER SLOWLY DISAPPEARING FROM TENNIS?

While it was easy to understand last year (to skip clay), it looks different for me this year. This year he seems to be fit so why he decides to be absent for 3 months?

Paganini a kind of justified this decision telling about difference of stress to knees between hard and clay. Did not look very convincing.

I just watched yesterday an almost 5 hours match in DavisCup (Spain vs. Germany), featuring 36 years old Ferrer and 34 years old Kohlschreiber. A very intense match.

Federer’s knee injury from 2016 was rather minor, surgery very limited and comeback quick. There are lots of players with more serious knee injuries. And there are many clay players without knee injuries. Nadal is a kind of exception and I would assume, his repeating knee problems to have their source not in playing much on clay but in playing on hard, being an extreme clay player.  Who is a clay court player and does not go for big wins on hard, has no problems with knees.

Moreover, as we all know, Federer’s knee injury was pure incidence, occurred rather on “hard surface” of the bathroom than on the beach 😉

I don’t take this explanation from Paganini for serious. Must have told something for the world to understand, Fed is still in superb shape, but don’t want risk his knee playing on clay. Ridiculous.

So what’s really going on?

Looking on other oldies, with or without knee problems (take Wawrinka trying to come back from a heavy knee surgery and just preparing for clay after bad experience from playing a bit on hard so far this year), I don’t see anybody skipping clay.

I think, the reason of this decision is different.

Fed has a low since last ATP Finals, even after winning AO and Rotterdam. No more so easy to win tournaments. No more so easy to look for Rafa finals (other “bigxxx” are still down).

I think, Fed is mentally tired or maybe bored and big wins and new records his only motivation to continue. And even this motivation a kind of fading.

Is Fed going his way to exit from active tennis?

They say, there are 3 exits from tennis: after a potentially last big title, after injury or … too late.

But we know, Fed can invent a lot. Maybe just invented another exit. To stay on Tour for some years more, but playing less on Tour and more exhos (Match for Africa, exho matches from others, like Murray, Rod Laver Cup)?

Still I have the feeling, Fed will make a last minute big surprise and comes to play Paris this year.

Meanwhile he can see, tennis is not going dead even without him. It’s going on. New names coming. Full crowds while he is not there. Only single sad FedFans on the Miami final, but full house.

Here and there some hints. He wants to have Olympia Gold, but in Tokyo he will be 39. Saving health and fitness just for Tokyo to be the last missing big title and than say Stop?


On the other hand 😉

Can you spend the whole live with such hands?

What we perceive watching matches are beautiful movement and shots, muscular body, attractive outfit, nice face and haircut, happy smile.

How their hands and feet look like, we can see only during medical timeouts.

Really very hard job.

I( can see sometimes hands of hard manually working people: farmers, fellers. But compared to tennis players, their hands look aristocratic like.

So, even if you are King Roger, you would like (and your wife and children) your hands to have a “normal” look 🙂

Updated 10.04.2018, 10:36

MONTE CARLO 2018

First sign of Dominic going to play Monte Carlo. His post on Instagram today 💕👓🌻🌞🎾🎾🎾🏆

 


Another update from Instagram. We can only guess, Dominic is going ahead with training, but some therapy is still necessary.

Update 8.08.2018, 21:11

Closer to Monte Carlo 🙂

Update 8.08.2018, 20:25


And finally officially confirmed by Bresnik !!!!!!!!!!

(original article in German is HERE)

After five weeks
Dominic Thiem celebrates his comeback in Monte Carlo!
Austria’s tennis star Dominic Thiem returns to the ATP tour at the Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo starting on Sunday! This was explained by his trainer Günter Bresnik on Monday evening. The coach and his most prominent protégé will travel to the Principality on Thursday. Thiem returns to Monte Carlo from a five-week injury break.

The 24-year-old had a compression and bone marrow oedema in his right ankle after the injury in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 tournament against Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay on 12 March, forcing him to give up in the third set. The Austrian had to give up participating in the Masters 1000 tournament in Miami, now the Top7 feels ready again in time for the start of the European clay court season.

But Bresnik warned against hasty expectations: “First Dominic has to play a match and the tournament. Only then can you tell if the injury is over. He has to play sets now.” That happens before departure, on Monday a four-hour unit was on the agenda. Bresnik: “That was very intense, but he hasn’t served so much yet. But he’s completely pain-free for ten days now.”

Updated 9.04.2018, 22:38


13.04.2018, Friday at 18.30 CET draw ceremony – you can watch live HERE

14.04.2018, Saturday, after the first match of the day (starting at 11.00) there will be exhibition with Thiem, Zverev, Cilic, Dimitrov and Goffin (Djokovic not officially confirmed). No information so far, if it will be streamed.

Updated 10.10.2018,  10:55


Another confirmation of Thiem playing Monte Carlo 🙂

https://www.ubitennis.net/2018/04/dominic-thiem-ready-make-come-back-monte-carlo/

Updated 12.04.2018, 09:16


Dominic just in Monte Carlo, but … very bad weather and this is how first practice look like 🙁

Weather forecast for Monaco

Don’t forget. Tomorrow 18.30 CET draw ceremony streamed live HERE

Updated 12.04.2018, 2101


Weather Report Monte Carlo

This is actual meteo data and forecast, registered on an NETATMO home station nearest the courts. Looks after an outdoor practice for Dominic (and others) today 🙂

Updated 13.04.2018, 13:48


Apologies 🙁 It was my mistake. The link I described as streaming of draw ceremony opens ATP live score application. I could not find the live stream of the draw ceremony anywhere :(. Instead look maybe in half an hour or later here . Usually Wikipedia is the first to publish the draw.

Updated 13.04.2018, 18:27


Draw table finally starting to be filled out.

First Big Bang – Dominic is drawn in Nadal’s quarter – should he reach the QF, Rafa is waiting. Bad? Not really. It’s first tournament after injury. If the form is not yet there, to lose to Rafa in QF would be a kind of premature final. If the form is there, better to meet Rafa before getting tired 🙂

Updated 13.04.2018, 19:35


And there we go 😉 Haase or Rublev Dominic’s first opponent in second round, in third round it’s Djokovic or Coric. Nice 🙂 No Angstgegner until QF, ha, ha, ha …

Updated 13.04.2018, 19:38


Sandgren, Shapovalov, Dimitrov and Goffin – all in second quarter. So Sandgren not earlier than in semifinal 🙂

Updated 13.04.2018, 19:43


And here is the full draw

Updated 13.04.2018, 20:05


Full main draw as PDF file, you can watch or download if you want 🙂

MDS

Updated 13.04.2018, 20:28


Weather update Monte Carlo

Looks good.  Today a charity event with Dominic Thiem just after the first qualifying match, starting at 11.00 CET. Probably not streamed 🙁 but maybe some video will be available later somewhere.

Dominic has BYE in first round, starting on Monday, so will probably play first on Wednesday. Good – he needs time for practice on clay, especially on Monte Carlo clay.

No information so far; if Bresnik will be there, but I think, he will to take care of Dominic’s competitive recovery.

Update 14.04.2018, 07:51


Dominic+Rafa practice in Monte Carlo

(TennisTV Instastory)

It’s only a flash, but a kind of proof, Dominic is healthy and fit. Would Rafa want to practice with Dominic, if he was not in good shape? Well, Rafa is a good friend and would maybe help Dominic to catch rhythm after the injury pause. But still – I think, Rafa believes to meet Dominic in QF. Let it be!


Charity “match” Monte Carlo with Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev, Dimitrov, Goffin, Cilic and Pouille

Not very entertaining, but still some look on Domi on MC court 🙂

https://www.dropbox.com/s/siddrmh83z7l3dv/CHARITYMonteCarlo9.mp4?dl=0

Updated 14.04.2018, 16:42


Another look on guys from the charity event

Which one would you prefer to be able to play?

Updated 14.04.2018, 18:23


This one should have been first – first practice in Monte Carlo with Filip Krajinovic (nice guy and player, only 1 year older than Domi)

Updated 14.04.2018, 18:33


Dominic’s practice today – a serve 🙂 Not bad – caution, danger ⚠⚠⚠

Updated 15.04.2018, 12:55


Another practice today, this time with Marin Cilic – looks to move free 🙂

Updated 15.04. 2018, 20:00


Monte Carlo Interview

And HERE you find a comment and partly transcript of the interview.

Updated 16.04.2018, 10:13


Volley practice Monte Carlo

Updated 16.04.2018, 20:40

Another practice in Monte Carlo with Galo Blanco

(poor Galo – tomorrow his 2 pupils will clash)

 

HOW CAN THIEM BE THE SECOND BEST MAN ON CLAY?

A big riddle!

On ATP website you find ATP STATS LEADERBOARD, a kind of ranking in the most important aspects of the game:  ServeReturn and Under Pressure.

Let’s choose “Against All PlayersLast 52 week and Clay as surface.

You will not be surprised to see Nadal ranked 3. for serve, 1. for return and 1. for Under Pressure.

But even knowing, that Thiem was the second best on clay last year, just after Nadal, you will hardly find him on high positions in these stats: 15. for serve, 11. for return and 10. for under pressure.

Surprise? Yes. But more than surprise – it’s a riddle. How can a player having such poor position in 3 most important (???) aspects of the game be the second best overall, in terms of number of matches won, titles and ranking points?

Where is he so good to have such a success? “Success against every rule?” (Erfolg gegen jede Regel) – that’s the subtitle of Bresnik’s book.

First answer could be – maybe stats are not adequate? Well, to some extent they are not. For one important reason. They don’t take into account the number of matches played.  If a player has played only one match on clay for a season, he can be positioned high in all or some of these stats, but be nobody in terms of success.

Let’s take Isner. He is ranked 1. for serve (for clay), but only 88. for return and only 35. for under pressure.

Alex Zverev has similar stats to Thiem: 13. for serve, 15.. for return and 9. for under pressure.

I have found another ranking system, but it’s for “all time” but including only active players.

http://tennisabstract.com/jrank/atp-clay.html

If you take out from the ranking players players like Federer (skipping clay for the second season), Djokovic and Murray (down for the second season), Thiem would be ranked 4., after Nadal, Zverev and del Potro.

But most (including experts) see Thiem as the second best on clay after Nadal.

Still a riddle.

Have you some answer?


Well, no answers from readers so far, so let me tell you my opinion.

All stats are percentage-based. So if you convert 1 breakpoint from 2, you have 50%. If you convert 2 of 10, you have only 20%.  And from my experience on different forums (including Federer forums), most fans and even experts are blaming players for too low percentages. To not be blamed, you better create only 2 break chances per match and convert 1 – then you will be probably a leader in stats. But to win the match (3-setter, without tiebreakers) you only need 2 breaks. Of course only the break counts, which you can hold. So maybe more accurate would be to say: you need 2 breaks, converted and hold more than the opponent does and you win the match. No matter, how many breaks you created – 2 or 20.

Percentages never win matches, only absolute numbers. You need to win 2 points more than the opponent to win a game, 2 games to win a set and 2 sets to win a match. Every other number deliver only some additional information. If you can create many breakpoints but “only” convert to in the match, this means, you are putting the opponent under heavy pressure – it’s him to defend them, not you to convert. This pressure ends with failing to defend breakpoints and this is just what you need to win matches.

In 2017 Thiem faced 468 breakpoints, losing 159. In the same year Thiem created 582 breakpoints, winning 232. This gives a plus of winning 73 breakpoints  more than losing. And here are the same numbers for some other players from Top10.

Nadal  lost 102, won 294 = plus 192

Dimitrov lost  113, won 198 = plus 85

Zverev lost 144, won 216 = plus 72

Goffin lost 182, won 252 = 70

Delpo lost 104, won 145 = plus 41

And the same numbers for clay

Nadal lost 29, won 109 = plus 80

Thiem lost 49, won 96 = plus 47

Goffin lost 47, won 68 = plus 21

Zverev lost 42, won 62 = plus 20

Delpo lost 21, won 29 = plus 8

Dimitrov lost 23, won 25 = plus 2

And this is maybe the answer – in this stats Thiem is second best on clay after Nadal with others from Top10 trailing him a lot.  If you take only the numbers of breakpoints lost, Thiem has the worst result from these 7 players, but in converted breakpoints, he trails only slightly Nadal by 13 converted breakpoints less. This can be the hint, on what to work to finally break Nadal’s dominance – significantly lower the number of lost breakpoints, in other words – to better hold nerves and serve better, when facing breakpoints, which is one of typical pressure points.


Let’s assume plus 2,5 breakpoints means the match won (including 1 5-setter on clay). This would give following numbers of matches won (no matter losing or converting percentages):

Nadal – 32

Thiem – 19

Goffin – 8

Zverev – 8

Delpo – 3

Dimitrov – 1

Updated 5.04.2018, 23:07