In his latest interview Dominic has told something strange. Maybe not many of you have noticed it: “I still pretend I’m not a professional athlete.”
How should we understand this statement? He has a licence of a professional ATP player, so he is in these formal terms a professional athlete. Some riddle, but maybe the answer would be a key to understand him better.
Then I did remind myself on those parts of Bresnik’s book , where he tells us about roots of Dominic’s adventure with tennis. This was an unique and unusual love and passion for the game. Not an exceptional talent or exceptional preconditions, he was rather the opposite of potential professional tennis player – small, fragile.
But he could hit the ball the whole day and learn every day.
Some don’t understand, why is Dominic that hard worker in tennis. Maybe the hardest on tour, to compare only with Rafa. Is he trying so badly to rise his level and reach the very top? If so, is this the right way to work so much and then maybe not be fresh enough to win big tournaments?
I think, knowing how serious and mature and humble and honest Dominic is, we should take it literally. He does not feel professional athlete. So who is he? Here’s my guess. He is still a tennis lover and passionate like in very young years. It’s what he loves to do in life the most. But not only this. He wants to have somehow normal life. Avoiding the business and hype, which others like so much. Not trying to be superstar in tennis. He feels to be a normal guy, who has so much luck to be able to have 2in1. To do what he loves and to be able to not worry about financing.
His goals are in some part the same as of anyone one tour. To win matches. To win tournaments. To reach high ranking. But first of all to play tennis on highest level available for him.
We all know by heart, how his face look like on every single hit and move. Some time ago one of Federer fans expressed this (meaning Federer of course) – he is not playing tennis, tennis is playing him.
Now I believe to understand, it’s about the same with Dominic. Tennis is a control centre of his life on any level, maybe first of all on spiritual and emotional level. He knows of course, he must win prizes to get sponsors and he need sponsors and prizes to be able to play tennis on top level.
But he must not win everything. The more important is, how he plays. If he is happy with own performance.
This may explain, why he is so emotionally worn out after a big win and then feels absent on court in the next match, even if it’s the final of the tournament, where everyone gives all to win. And he looks absent. Where is he in such moments? I guess, he relives, what happened yesterday – the day of his big performance, while beating one of the greatest in the sport, just being at his best. No, it’s not meant as an upset. It’s meant to be something mystical. He has just beaten the best on the surface because of how well he played. When he plays such matches, he seems not to be aware of the crowd and all other things happening around.
Is THIS DOMINIC THIEM?
Some important things have changed or are changing just after I wrote this article.
DOMINIC is now happy not only because of playing his beloved tennis. He is now happy IN LOVE. Real and strong love is a big support in life, especially for a tennis player, who’s life is full of preparation, training, traveling, waiting, playing. With this intensity there is no much time and place to have a normal life. Friends. Love. Family.
As we can observe just last weeks, Dominic is also getting more open to the world, including media. So many long and big interviews in that short time. Hard to believe, it’s the same guy.
Good for him. If he loses a match and has some extra free days, has now some other nice options, not only working hard/harder/hardest. This makes him smile more and be more fresh and relaxed, when a new tournament starts.
One of them is just starting today. Let’s see, how happy Dominic can play 🙂
Updated 16.05.2018, 09:18
Roland Garros about to start and of course the whole tennis world speculating, telling stories, looking for upcoming big things, upsets and Cinderella stories. This is the best fuel of the mass culture. Tennis today is a part of it.
But there are also the Last of the Mohicans. Dominic belongs to them. The whole world only speaking about Roland Garros and meanwhile but for him the first match in Lyon and today the final is just what’s most important in the world. He wins or loses but he will do this with his whole passion.
Many think, he should have skipped Lyon and be now there, in the actual center of the tennis world. But his passion is now here, in Lyon. He will not impatiently look on his watch – hey, I should be long there. He will give everything to play his best today. No matter, what happens tomorrow.
Tomorrow he will be in Paris. Will the tennis world welcome him? Will we read in hot news – Thiem just arrived in Paris? No, we will not. They all think and speak now about “big names” and “big upset candidates”. The Last of the Mohicans, who’s heart, mind and passion is on the court, where he is just playing, be it an minor ATP event or a Grand Slam.
And what will change tomorrow? Nothing. He will continue his daily routines – training, practicing, preparing for the next match. His passion will be then on a probably peripheral court, where he will play an underdog to reach second round. This will be not a boring match. First boring matches will be played on Center Court, where the greatest will meet another underdogs and beat them in an hour. Even upsets can be boring. Upsets are exciting only for those, who don’t love tennis, but the hype. What can produce more hype than an underdog beating Nadal in first round? Can Dominic’s match against Ivashka produce some hype? No, even if this ends with an upset. Not a big upset. Not a big hype.
But who decides to watch this potentially uninteresting match, will not regret. It will be the same show of passion as it will be maybe on the last day of the tournament.
Updated 26.05.2018, 10:04
I found it really important to understand Dominic better – it’s a latest interview by LAOLA1 with Dominic’s father, Wolfgang Thiem
The interview is quite long, so I decided to post it in parts. There will be 2 or 3 updates until the whole interview is translated.
Meanwhile you can read the original in German HERE.
Most interesting fragments of the interview
(Wolfgang Thiem) explains, what are Dominic’s advantages from the contact with superstars like Rafael Nadal, why he believes, Dominic to be “late mature”, what is the plan of developing the “Thiem” brand and why he does not care about the critic of his son to be “boring”.
LAOLA1: Last year was Dominic on clay number 2 after Rafael Nadal. And this year he is again the only one to beat the Spaniard on his favorite surface. How and when could the final “guard change” happen?
Thiem: Nadal is first 31 and long not yet a methuselah. He can still have 3-4 good years in tennis if his body holds. What is amazing for me in Nadal, he reaches every year top form exactly at the start of clay season. Last year he did play really poor against Leonardo Mayer at US Open. But he could somehow hang on and win and his level was then rising with every next match. For me Nadal is the best competitor at all. Not only in tennis, but generally in sports. How he jumps into in Davis Cup or Laver Cup – even if injured. He always tries to find a way to win the match. For me this is an extreme and remarkable talent. And his development is very interesting too, because he does not play today anymore like he did 5 or 6 years ago.
LAOLA1: Can Dominic copy something from Nadal?
Thiem: Dominic has internalized quite deep this fighter mentality too. The more often you have contact with such people, the more you get from them. There are things, you cannot copy from another one. But this can change your whole orientation for sport. If Dominic spends lot of time with Nadal, this can help0 him in his own game. They understand each other quite well. And Nadal likes Dominic.
LAOLA1: In the meantime, there must be also a lot of respect.
Thiem: Nadal has for sure respect for Dominic. Last year before the semifinal match against Dominic there was for sure lot of tension. At the beginning the match was rather even. Then the pendulum was striking more and more to Nadal’s side. Dominic knows, he can beat Rafa only when delivering his absolute top performance.
LAOLA1: Dominic can beat everyone and he could so far beat everyone. But often he seems not to be able to be consistent to reach more such wins one after other over many days. Why?
Thiem: I think, this has much to do with experience. Some matches give you of course a confidence boost. Nobody knows, what would have happened, should he have won the match against del Potro at US Open. He must have paid big toll for this match. But, also the loss to Tennys Sandgren at Australian Open was hurting. Dominic is for sure a late maturer (bolded by translator) – he was it since very young. Being 15 years old Dominic was in biologic terms maybe 11, 12 years old. He grew up very late. I thin k, there is still extreme potential in him. He needs maybe two or three years more until he is fully matured or let’s call it “until the whole house is built”. Many are so far just when 20 or 21 years old. With Dominic it takes a bit longer.
Updated 27.05.2018, 12:36
LAOLA1: While they say anyway, that the best age for tennis comes first with 28, 29.
Thiem: I don’t see anything special in that. Players can play these days longer, because they get better medical treatment. In times of Muster an own physio was not a standard. Even ATP offers physios. Players are taking a lot more care about their body. And over last 10 years there were players, who have extremely dominated the sport, because they were so well.
LAOLA1: Since the end of last year there is also Galo Blanco in the team. How goes the cooperation with him? Will he be there over the whole clay season? Will this all divided somehow?
Thiem: Blanco has coached Khachanov before and it was intensive, because Khachanov is another one, who likes to train much. After they have split, was the possibility open for us. They have made together the season’s preparation to see how it works. Now the cooperation is prolonged.
Updated 27.05.2018, 20:32
To be continued
Before I continue with the translation (now I need time for French Open rather), I have found some fresh interviews, both with Bresnik and with Dominic. All in German, so too much work for now to translate them all.
But here is the conclusion.
Both Bresnik and Thiem were asked about the source of Dominic’s problems with delivering his best tennis in some matches. Many times rather unexpected.
Bresnik’s answer: “I don’t know”. If he knew, he would undertake something to solve the problem.
Dominic’s answer: “This is of course a mental problem, maybe my character.” He feels, it’s about how is his mindset before the match. While playing the best players, he has no doubts, he must deliver everything he has. And these are his best matches. In other matches he has doubts and if he does not start on the highest level, he can lose the match to a definitely weaker opponent or it can look like in Lyon.
Bresnik means, this is something, the whole team must discuss about.
My intuitive concept – maybe this has to do with Dominic’s late biological maturity. If these are hormones, still not in the balance, it’s very hard to find the way. Maybe the time will change it. Over last year (maybe since his love story with Kiki begun?) Dominic is changing a lot. He is more open, looks more happy but strong love means also ups and downs and they can be very high/deep.
So far we must take Dominic “as is”, because we can help him the only way. Stay with him for good and for bad. Expect stellar matches or tournaments and then some poor matches or tournaments. Don’t try to find out more than he and his team are able to. Be patient about his still missed bigger successes. Enjoy his game and character we love and help him to be happy with his achievement. They could maybe be better. They are still very very good. From a fragile, small, shy late maturer one day an fully adult man will emerge and maybe then he starts his real prime time. Or maybe not. Let it be 🙂 And let’s be happy with it 🙂
Updated 28.05.2018, 10:45
Dominic Thiem in Brazil
Just today a great article about Dominic was published HERE. Many thanks to the author, João Victor Araripe. Hope this article will be a big inspiration for Thiem’s fans and generally tennis fans in Brazil. And maybe good omen just for today’s finals in Paris, because traditionally it’s great Brazilian tennis player and RG winner, Gustavo Kuerten (O GUGA), who hands the tropy in Paris. Of course also in Rio de Janeiro, where Dominic won the title last year and got the trophy from GUGA 🙂
Updated 10.06.2018, 10:40
Just a good postscriptum from Parias to the title question
Updated 13.06.2018, 21:33
Maybe arts experts will think, I’m crazy.
I have just found a perfect metaphor for Dominic Thiem and the player called G.O.A.T., Roger Federer.
Federer is Leonardo da Vinci of Tennis – born for greatness, genius, gifted with everything an exceptional tennis player needs. Of course, he added a lot of hard work, like everyone does. If you watch the heritage of Leonardo, you find lots of genial inventions, many of them only sketched. Leonardo missed time to develop all of his genial ideas. I guess, it’s quite the same with Federer – even at 37 still able to redesign himself, still able to create. But the clock is ticking and at some age he will be no more able to implement his genius on court.
Thiem is Michelangelo Buonarroti – born to achieve greatness. The hardest work of Michelangelo, called in the literature Agony and Extasy – many of his works destroyed by himself, because they were not what he expected. Not so many works left.
Can we say, who’s greatness was bigger – Michelangelo’s or Leonardo’? I don’t think, we event should try.
Toutes proportions gardées – Thiem’s life’s works are and probably will be not many. But not worth less than Federer’s. A kind of TRANSCEND TROPHIES. Like Nadal match at US Open 2018. Lost but won.
Now you know, what to expect from Dominic Thiem? Hardest work all the way. Biggest passion you may find in sports. Only a few perfect works (meaning big titles).
Updated 8.01.2019, 10:59
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