The seventh milestone

The complete player

 It was a daily struggling, for everyone.

The training work was going ahead without limits, forehand with fastest tempo, many hours, backhand with fastest tempo, many hours, in between the serve, with fastest tempo (training of overhead shots must be limited, also later for professionals because of higher injury risk).

In the meantime, Wolfgang was not only calling me by phone but also sending SMS with current scores.

I wanted to know more and more.

I was interested not only in how was Dominic’s presence but also about a dozen of other players, which were under our radar, because they were able to play fast.

Wolfgang was required to report in details. Was Dominic’s backhand slice really the most beautiful among all those players? Had he the highest spin on the forehand. Was his first serve really the fastest, the bounce of his second serve the highest? If one of those players could do the same equally good or even better than Dominic, alarm bells started to be loud. And we knew, what’s the next key focus of our training.

Dominic must not have been the best of his age-mates, but the more complete player worldwide. This was the minimal prerequisite for him to prevail against professionals.

Of course, it was clear for me, everyone has some deficiencies, even Roger Federer, one cannot avoid this in training.

Late night an SMS from Wolfgang from Mexico. Dominic was trailing in the first set against some of the player being under our radar. I told him.

Call me again after the set is over.”

The next message was, Dominic lost first set. I asked Wolfgang to report the rest of the match point for point, like in a live radio transmission.

I wanted to know, how Dominic played every single shot.

I wanted to know, what the opponent was doing better than Dominic.

I instructed Wolfgang, what signs to show Dominic.

Finally, Dominic won in three sets.

In the Wolfgang’s next phone invoice, he could find this conversation. 1200 EUR.

When looking back looks like a nice gag, but then it was a middle disaster.

Dominic’s family was not that poor. His grandfather is a bank manager, his grandma – an architect – but his education did cost then between 50.000 and 100.000 EUR. This was in long term not realistic, even if I have decided not to take money for my work. I did not need the money that desperately as the young Thiem family, also because Dominic’s younger brother Moritz has in the meantime started to train seriously too. And Karin and Wolfgang wanted to give him absolutely the same possibilities they offered Dominic. The double investment was paid by them all: Wolfgang, Karin and grandparents.

I was hanging around the Player Lounge of Grand Slams and begging my old friends and fellow coaches, which pupils were the top professional players: I had there some stunning youngster, if he could please hit some balls with my pupil. Bob Brett was the first, who let Dominic play with Cilic, in Paris 2010.

On a side court Mats Merkel, the contract trainer of adidas was warming-up Fernando Verdasco, the a Top10 player. After some minutes I noticed, that Merkel was observing Verdasco with one eye only. He was more interested, what was happening on our court.  Mats called me and wanted to know, who is the boy and when is his current equipment sponsor contract finished.

This way Dominic’s name landed for the first time in an important notebook.

Here you go to PART 7

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