The buzz is in the air and on the grass. Austrian wunderkind Dominic Thiem has just won his 4th tournament of the year at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart and is now ranked 7th in the world at 23 years of age.
Some spectators marvel at his power, some say it’s ALL, and maybe too much, about power. But to me, Thiem definitely have other tennis tools in his workshop. He’s already starting to create a selection of hot shots, which is similar to what Federer did already in the beginning of his career. “Hey!”, you say, “Dimitrov was the hot shot king of 2014 and where is he now?” (After 5 straight first round losses).
First of all, Dimitrov’s career is far from over. He is still young. He can still figure it out and get his shit together. Will he become a force in the top 5? At this point it seems highly unlikely. The string of first set losses is a sign of something you don’t see in almost any consistent top 10 players’ trajectories. There is DOUBT. And already at 25, this can be quite a harmful thing for your game. But let’s be positive and hope he turns it around.
Back to Thiem. Thiem is more than a hot shot player. He seems to play very well under pressure. Despite playing tight points against a legend like Federer, he orchestrates them carefully and takes many sound decisions. Through his massive top spin swings he makes sure he always keeps a good margin on his shots, but he can go for broke when needed to as we saw in the match against Goffin in the French Open where after a zweigsam first set he suddenly soared and hit thunderous winners from the back of the court.
You can have all the shots in the book (Dimitrov), but if you don’t have the mental game and the skill to choose the right shot at the right time, you won’t be a lasting top ten player. Looking at Thiem’s game already he possesses a mental maturity that very few players have and he has the physique to back it up. So I would be surprised if he didn’t become a world number one in a few years time. Maybe he won’t dominate like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, but he for sure has the game to occupy that coveted spot for at least a while.
Anyway, here are some Thiem hot shots from this week in Halle to show that the guy is business and if he keeps it up can reach the very finest spot on the ATP World Tour. If you think differently or agree, I would much appreciate comments below.
If you want to know more about Thiem’s yet to be released racquet. Here’s my post on the Babolat Project One 7.
— TennisTV (@TennisTV) June 16, 2016