That Dominic was so small and weak, did not matter. This problem would get solved automatically with the time. A bit disturbing was, that we had to limit the training load. My task was just to push Dominic always to his limits, but never beyond them. Our training was exactly dosed in terms of range and hardness, even if many outsiders could not notice this. Dominic was very cautious adapted to growing intensity.

The worse problem was his delicate mindset. Dominic was required to learn to prevail, to find the way, how to use his tools the right way. The best hammer is useless, if you don’t hit the nail with it with determination.

With 15-16 started Dominic to play on the international tour for juniors up to 18 years of age.

I was only seldom travelling to international tournaments. Dominic was alternatingly attended by Wolfgang (Dominic’s father – PRF) or by Thomas Strengberger, the former Davis Cup player, who was an excellent young coach and was spending lot of time with Dominic in Südstadt.

Just after the match I was called by phone, not seldom late evening or early morning because of different time zones.

How went the match?

6:3, 6:4”.

Not the result. How did Dominic play.

Of course, I started slowly to be interested in results too.

But what mattered most, were not wins, but how they came to happen.

Listen. Wolfgang. Everyone must say, Thiem is stupid, because he goes full ahead all the time, no matter the scoreline. If this happens, we have it. This would mean, he goes for every ball full not because of my yelling, but on his own.

I wanted Dominic to build-up an aura like this: the dangerous Austrian with fastest shots. And of course, I wanted to see building-up in his head the conscience: nobody hits that fast as me. You can play so good you want. When I’m playing well, you have no chance.

Away from the comfort zone!

I sent him to chop the wood instead of fitness training, I plagued him with arbitrary exercises on the court. I provoked him (“the bald head did win again? What a pity!”), I required his parent´s to let him set the table home, to wash his clothes. I wanted to send him to boxing trainings, but he resisted (protest, good sign!), so I let him wrestle in the Südstadt with a training partner. On the beginning this looked like exchanging tenderness between two teenagers. But some day it happened, that Dominic crushed his friend and held him in a stranglehold.

This is how looked our progresses like.

Here you go to PART 6

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