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