THIEM 2018 – PREDICTIONS

Thiem will be focused on Grand Slams and Masters 1000 tournaments in 2018. No more a novice in big tournaments.

After collected lots of experience in 2017 (including losses in many matches, which seemed to go for his wins), first of all in these two top categories of tournaments and learned what was to learn and improved what was to improve (still going on in Tenerife), Thiem should be more and more confident on the top level.

Every prediction has of course some risk factor. An injury, a bad day in the office, a match of life of the opponent – all this can happen to anyone, so it does not make much sense to take is as an analytical factor.

I don’t know, what WILL happen, but I believe to know, what CAN happen.

And this is my shortlist:

  1. Semifinal in Australian Open
  2. 2 Masters titles (Madrid and Rome) and 1 final (Monte Carlo) on clay
  3. Roland Garros crown
  4. Wimbledon QF
  5. 1-2 Masters titles on hard  – most probable Indian Wells and/or Miami
  6. US Open SF
  7. ATP Finals – SF
  8. At least 1 win against every member of old BIG4
  9. At least 2 wins against every member of new BIG4

Too big expectations? Think about how close was Dominic to reach these goals in 2017.  Every 2017 deficit can be wiped away during the season’s preparation, especially knowing Dominic’s work ethic and his path so far – no rockets, no downhills. Nothing reached by good luck – in the draw, in opponents having off days. Lost everything, what was to lose. Did not won everything, what was to win.


What are your expectations? And why?


THIEM RUNNING FOR BIG TITLES


GOOD OMEN

I have just read lots of predictions for 2018 – from pundits, experts, media, whoever.

They are all more wishes than predictions and it’s OK. Fedfans predict Fed to win everything. Nole fans predict Nole to win everything. If some try to show “courage”, they guess Zverev and Dimitrov wi´ll win 2 slams or more.

For French Open everyone expects Rafa to win – no word about potential contender, including Thiem.

No, you don’t find there any analysis.

They all make Thiem candidate to survive in Top10.  Well. speaking about Thiem they see, some greats will be back this year. Nobody knows, in what shape and all them beaten at least once by Thiem,  but well – they are still greats.

When speaking about Dimitrov or Zverev or even Goffin, they somehow don’t see all those greats coming back. And who had more luck for the 2017 final ranking than just Zverev or Dimitrov. Neither from both was really consistent over the year. Was Thiem consistent? You may wonder, but yes, he was. The first half of the season in playing big matches ans have some valuable wins on top level, the second half – in learning relentlessly on cost of all those bitter losses, how to play and win on hard. They see only how often he lost in first or second round. They don’t look or understand, what has he learned. Not seeing the big difference between losing because not trying to learn and losing because of trying.

Compare with Zverev –  miserable results in slams so far for No. 4.  And suddenly he is going to win 1-2 slams in 2018? No logic, no rational arguments, only crystal ball.

Good for Dominic, because he will feel challenged and with his humbleness it’s easier to come from the dark.


31.12.2017 UPDATE

Now that we know some more things about just starting new season, I would like to correct my predictions. Not simply because I want him to win more. But I see many factors coming together, which may make 2018 THIEM’S YEAR, big start to  new era in tennis. Not only for him, but I see it coming first of all just for him. What are the new arguments?

1.  BIG4 (old)

Last year was obviously the FEDAL YEAR.  The other 2 of BIG4 were first failing, then missing. Of course making it easier for FEDAL to have such a year.

Now from the start of the new season we see almost all BIG4 (or BIG5, if you want, Wawrinka included) not going to have an upright start. They are all getting old. They are all after bigger injuries. They are scared of not being recovered enough. And they are scared of losing their reputations, if they start with poor results in big events.  This is like self-realizing prediction.  The only one from this circle to have some chance to continue to be the OLD BIG ONE is Federer . But as I wrote here, I don’t see any of them winning any slam in 2018. Even not Federer in Wimbledon.

2. BIG4 (new)

Maybe David Goffin just made a start, while beating Federer in London. Showing others the way, which they all are able to follow – they are Zverev, Thiem and Dimitrov.

So of Thiem reaches finals of slams or Masters, the rival on the other side could be one of  another three from new Big4.

This means in psychological terms – you will not play a monument but a normal guy, about in your age. This means – every such final will be open with no clear favorite. They all can play well on every surface.

3. New factors on Thiem’s side

  • Who read Bresnik’s book (whole or parts I translated and posted here), will know, that Dominic was late bloomer in physiological terms. Trailing by 2-3 years his age-mates. Now this is going to change. Nobody is a late bloomer over the whole life. And life on tour, hard training, travelling, meeting adult people all around, participating in different “adult” events, makes you grow in every aspect, including the personal development.
  • Dominic was known for his humbleness and even shyness, making him never feel favorite, when stepping onto the court, even if he was clear favorite “on paper”.  This was more than respect. Respect is OK and this must not change. But the confidence must be there and I see him reaching this point to at least not give the rivals free points before the match started.
  • Dominic will get new kind of support. Twice. First it will be Kiki, maybe only seldom in his box, maybe on the other end of the world, playing a WTA event. But streaming love (which is big support and maybe new for Dominic). Women are always more mature in the same age as the men. Who is or was Federer fan, will know, what a boost was for him Mirka. And still is. Now Dominic will get the same boost. Another factor will be the new travelling coach, Galo Blanco. For first years on tour Dominic was all the time  accompanied by “two fathers” – his real father and first of all his tennis father – Bresnik. 2017 was the first year, Bresnik could not do the job like before but they don’t succeed in finding another coach to travel everywhere. Having some professional tennis career. Is Galo Blanco the best shot? We don’t know. But before we know this, we can be sure,m this will let Dominic’s confidence grow by knowing, he has some support in tight situations.
  • Dominic is still learning and developing his tennis and how he played on very fast surface in Abu Dhabi, is a big sign of going ready for biggest challenges on every surface. We have seen his better serve, earlier ball-taking, playing fast and still hard. We could not see much of his new volleying, because Anderson match was too fast for this.  We may assume, there is no weak point in his game anymore.

If all those factors come together, we  have NEW THIEM, ready for every challenge. Let it happen 🙂


So I must correct my shortlist:

  1. Final in Australian Open
  2. 3 Masters titles (Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome) on clay
  3. Roland Garros crown
  4. Wimbledon SF
  5. 1-2 Masters titles on hard  – most probable Indian Wells and/or Miami
  6. US Open F
  7. ATP Finals – F
  8. At least 4 wins against every member of new BIG4. Forget about old BIG4 😉

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12 Replies to “THIEM 2018 – PREDICTIONS”

  1. I agree with most of what you write. It’s pathetic to see how many tennis fans are putting Dominic Thiem at the bottom part of the top 10 in their predicitions for 2018 ATP year end top 10.
    Of course we don’t know for sure what will happen, but in my perception Thiem’s career line is upwards at the moment, not downwards, both in ranking points and ranking.
    Nadal was the better clay court player in 2017, because he was physically in quite good shape and applied a simple strategy against Dominic Thiem which also proved to be efficient against Federer : play consistently to Thiem’s single handed backhand with high topspin shots, and push him behind the baseline till he makes a short BH return or an error.
    That plan worked well in Barcelona, but in Madrid it could already have gone the other way around with Thiem having set points in the tie break of the first set.
    Nadal apparently won more easily in Paris (Roald Garros 2017), which I did not exactly expect to be the case. I don’t know what happened there, but I suppose Bresnik and Thiem have analysed that match and have been looking for solutions to counter these tactics, and have adapted their training sessions accordingly a bit.
    Apart from Nadal who else would/ could stop Dominic during the clay season ?
    Federer, Djokovic ? Both stars have a stellar clay court resume. But Federer already avoided clay this year, clay (according to his own comments) being a dangerous surface for him hurting his knee again, and Djokovic’s elbow injury seems to have become a chronic issue, preventing Novak from playing at his former top level for long stretches.
    Andy Murray, Wawrinka perhaps ? Murray could be dangerous if he’s fit and if he can find some good form. Wawrinka is not fit.
    Cilic, JM Del Potro ? For some reason Cilic seems to focus on clay this season. I don’t expect him to be a real threat to Dominic though. With Del Potro you don’t know. He seems to me at the moment more dangerous on hard court.
    Goffin ? David likes to play on clay, but seems physically not strong enough to win against Dominic in best of 5.
    Alexander Zverev ? Is very good on clay in best of 3 ( I remember his stellar appearance in Hamburg a couple years back), but Alexander remains unproven in best of 5. He should not be a threat yet to Dominic.
    In short, looking at all these payers mentioned and their chances against Thiem on clay, Dominic’s prospects are very good as far as his clay season 2018 is concerned.
    I tend to be more conservative where Thiem’s HC results are concerned : a couple of QF’s, perhaps 1 SF in the slams.
    But to me he’ll remain at least in the top 5 .

  2. Thanks, wilfried, for your balanced and realistic comment. I tend to be more optimistic 😉
    Have seen yesterday the match against Anderson and how Dominic improved his hard-court game since 2017. Taking balls early. Firing both BH and FH with “short hand”, more wrist than swing. Serving better. His game is now fast enough to be tough for everyone.
    But he seems to still have a problem I analyzed in this article http://prf-mypassions-tennisandmore.com/thiems-big-hole-pressure-points/. Not sure, where this come from. Maybe from his inborn shyness and missing ability to deal with the pressure of being favorite. But being ranked so high he will be often favorite and must do something to not only win matches against biog ones (where he is not the favorite) but also guys like Anderson, not very top but close to the top and very experienced. Yesterdays’s match was lost in two pressure moments. With double fault at 6:7 in first set’s tiebreaker. And then 5 missed serves in a row in first game of the second set – 2 double faults and missed first serve, second was to weak and was punished with return winner. In rallies Dominic was simply too fast for Anderson and would be for everyone. Firing both BH and FH with “short hand”, almost no swing, everything from wrist. One of such shots was shown to have more than 4500 rpm of spin. Like Rafa at his best. If Dominic plays like this on hard, will have not less chances than on clay. And he can use this game on clay too. Then Nadal is too slow (as he was in Rome).
    And I don’t see any of old guard to have an especially good year. Maybe Federer, but he will probably skip, clay once more or only try FO without preparation. The rest are worn physically and mentally. I expect 2018 to be the year of what I expect to turn new Big4: Dimitrov, Thiem, Goffin, Zverev. Delpo is a big unknown. He is an ox. Never giving up. Always focused. Nice teddy bear at some moments, but relentless killer in the game. But I agree, he will be a threat rather on hard, first of all US, where he has a big crowds supporting him.
    Let’s wait for the real start of the season 🙂

  3. Thiem is just playing Carreno Busta but I cannot find a secure link to streaming. I was just warned by the browser about the Batman link, it could have a virus, so I cannot recommend it 🙁 Unfortunately we must wait for Doha.
    Where do you usually watch tennis?
    I’m watching most tournaments (no slams and no exhibitions) on TennisTV, Yearly subscription costs about 120 USD but you have all ATP tournaments streamed, you can watch replies of full matches and highlights at any time. Slams are no ATP events and not streamed there. For AO I buy a monthly subscription on Eurosportplayer for about 15 USD. All streams are very good quality, no ads, no interruptions. Well, good quality costs always 🙁
    Free streams are mostly illegal and often not secure, so I rather avoid them. Betting services stream most of matches, for which you can bet, but you must not bet, so it’s an option to pay the minimum deposit, not bet at all but watch there. The quality is good, but no full screen option there so not very comfortable. And Thiem’s match today is not even on betting list so not streamed there too. 🙁 You can only follow the livescore here http://www.mubadalawtc.com/.

  4. Hi Wladyslaw,
    I only saw the highlights of the Anderson match but it was clear to see the positive change in Dominic on court in comparison with the latter half of 2017. He appears more confident & it’s obvious to see he has done a great deal of work in the off season. Yes, as you pointed out there were the typical pitfalls but yet his whole demeanour seems entirely different.
    I was very glad to read that Dominic now has a coach to travel with him when Bresnik cannot & I sense this can only be positive. I also think it’s a good thing that the media are not putting too much pressure on Dominic to deliver. I’m sure he would prefer it that way. So, all in all & as long as Dominic maintains his self belief the future is looking bright.
    Thanks Wladyslaw for keeping us updated throughout the off season. I’m sure I’m not the only one who greatly appreciates your posts.
    Wishing you all the best for a happy & healthy year ahead.

  5. Hi Michelle,
    I have the whole Anderson match recorded and will try to compile some highlights tomorrow, but … the story of the day will be of course his match in Doha 🙂
    Well, we are never in position to use direct knowledge, but we can observe and try not to see, what we would like to see but what really happens. Unfortunately I could not watch his match against Carreno-Busta, nor is stats available. but Dominic was happy with his game.
    Now I hope for a win of the tournament in Doha, which would give him tremendous boost in confidence.
    Well, I’m just sitting with my doggie in our cottage in the forest, hoping for a silent night first because of wild animals around.
    I wish you also a delightful year 2018, including the year to be a turning point for our hero 🙂
    See you soon as I plan to continue the best possible coverage on the blog 🙂

  6. Hi Wladislaw,
    I read some of your interaction on the blog « perfect-tennis » today (5th of february) with a couple of them readers there.
    You gave some interesting points for debate and reflection imo (like for instance by providing a link to http://nessis.org/nessis13/kovalchik.pdf), but unfortunately the people on that blog don’t seem to appreciate your input and call you denigrating names, which is a shame. Why not put this type of info here on your own blog, instead of offering it to people who attack your comments and consider you a troll. That’s almost equal to casting your pearls before the swine, like the Bible puts it in a methaphore (I know you don’t like religion, but that proverb makes a lot of sense imo). I hope you’re not offended by my comment.
    Also did I notice a change in your expectations with regard to Dominik Thiem? You now seem to expect Roger Federer playing Roland Garros, and want him making a deep run in that slam in order to win that event a second time. Don’t you want Dominik to win this slam anymore this season, or have you changed your expectations with regard to his performances in the short term ?

  7. Hi Wilfried,
    Thank for your input 🙂 Are you only a reader on peRFect-tennis or do you post something there too?
    Well, I’m old Federer fan (not a FedFan according to their definitions ;)) and I think, he is still the biggest active tennis player and everyone should learn from him so much as possible. This is why I just wrote an article here about “Thiem going into steps of Federer”.
    Now since some years I’m following Dominic and he is going to be my first favorite and there are so many places for discussion (if you can call it discussion, what you just read on peRFect ;)) about Fed, I decided to open a blog about Dominic, just in English, because not many people worldwide can read German and even in German you don’t find so much about him.
    I’m now inclined to think, Thiem can beat Federer, because his game style is a problem for Fed. Should this nice case happen, they play each other anywhere on a big stage, I would cheer for Dominic of course. I think, it’s time for those, I defined to be the New Big4 (Thiem, Dimitrov, Goffin and Zverev), to win big titles. And no, I did not change expectations about Dominic. I expect him to win RG, if his main contender will be Rafa or Fed. On PeRFect I’ speculating not about my wishes but about what I think could happen. So I think, Fed could decide to play RG (maybe last try to win it once more) and some hint for such possible plans was just to ask Dominic to prepare together for the season. And yes, it’s true, I think, this title would by by far more valuable for Fed than this year’s AO. I would wish him this win, while still expecting Thiem to be the best on clay this year and one of the best on other surfaces.
    Yeah, thank you for your Blblic metaphor – I know it and I like it. While I’m not religious (not the same as not liking religions), I have read the Bible and repeat it from time to time, every time finding something to think about. No, of course I’m not offended 🙂 Feel free to use metaphors like this and express your opinions the way you like 🙂 This blog is FREE (not like peRFect, where people are a kind of religious but in fact putting their own egos over everything, Federer included) and everyone can express their opinions so long they are not offending. Yes, I agree, I should rather post my thoughts like those about ball acceleration here, but I was simply curious, what FedFans would have to say. They will never come here. As you have seen, only some of them are ready and interested to discuss about such matters, because they (almost) all wear some specific spectacles, want to write and see and hear only prayers to Fed and to them (as the best FedFans ever). But no worries. I was posting 1 or 2 years on Roger’s old website and I’m well prepared for what their reactions may be. Anyway I will think about reposting or collecting and writing a new article about the “acceleration” problem just here under my general thread “Tennis for tennis fans”. Good idea – thank you 🙂

    1. Only a quick reply, cuz I’m not at home at the moment.
      I’m very much interested in the ‘acceleration of the ball ‘ topic, and welcome any blog article or comment on that matter, although it is not an easy topic, at least not for me.
      I’m not a regular reader of perfect-tennis; at times I go read some of John’s articles, but never drop any comments.
      I’ve done it exceptionally there in the past (some three four years ago).

      1. Thanks 🙂
        I will try to find more evidence before I write the article, so it’s less chaotic. Maybe I can found some evidence from measurements taken during real game.

  8. BTW – my first prediction – semi at AO was close to happen. Should Dominic defeat Sandgren (which is another strange story in Dominic’s career – I just wrote some update about this in the comment to Sandgren match), he would have played Chung and 90% win and than meet Federer in semis, not without chances. Fed was not at his best at AO this year.

  9. A word about “religion”, Wilfried. I’m not really against any religion in a spiritual life of humans. But religions having tennis players as gods are pathetic and even very very deep addiction to any single player should not make people behave like crusaders – that’s all. And religions as sch are not a subject of interest on my blog. But any metaphors, associations a.s.o. to any real religion (not “fan-religion” = simple and primitive fanaticism) ale welcome here 🙂 And sources like Bible are of course respected and appreciated. So long we stay rather on earth in our fin-like behaviors 😉

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