“Doesn’t Really Suit Him”: Tennis Legend Weighs In on Dominic Thiem’s Struggles and Diminishing Success

Published 05/25/2021, 6:35 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem reacts during his fourth round match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


Former Austrian tennis star Barbara Schett has shared her thoughts on why compatriot Dominic Thiem has seemingly gone off the boil since lifting his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open last year.

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Coming into this year’s Australian Open in the hope of clinching his second straight career Grand Slam championship trophy, Thiem fell in the pre-quarters stage after scripting a heroic fightback to overturn a two-set deficit against Nick Kyrgios in the previous round.

The Austrian followed up his Melbourne Park exit with decidedly underwhelming performances in Doha and Dubai and took an extended break from the game to fix his niggles and return fresh, fit, and firing again.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his third round match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Early exits at Rome, and Lyon have put spotlight back on Dominic Thiem’s struggles

For a spell, it seemed as if his seven-week hiatus had done its bit as the 27-year-old reached the semifinals of Madrid Open, his comeback event, before losing to eventual champion Alexander Zverev.

But after two more early exits at Rome and Lyon, there are fresh questions on whether Thiem is still battling a crisis of confidence or is struggling to find the motivation to return to winning ways.

To that Schett said that Thiem’s glory run at the Flushing Meadows last year, was, in many ways, the culmination of years of hard work, the realization of a goal that he had set for himself at the start of his career.

Taking a range of questions during a virtual conversation, Schett said, “Last year when he won the US Open title, his biggest dream came true and the dream came true for what he’s worked all his career, that was the ultimate thing for him, to win a Grand Slam.”

“He is tired”: Barbara Schett on Dominic Thiem

Now that the dream has been fulfilled, Thiem is, perhaps, struggling to find the same motivation on the court, and traveling into tournament bubbles and playing closed-door events probably don’t suit his game either, the former World No. 7 added.

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“Also, the whole COVID situation now, traveling to tournaments and being in bubbles and stuff like that doesn’t really suit him. I think he’s really struggling with that and he is tired,” Schett said.

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She added that she can relate to Thiem’s situation as she came into tennis with the goal of being the top Austrian player internationally and breaking into the Top-10 and when that goal was reached, she lost the desire to compete.

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It remains to be seen if Thiem can turn things around at the French Open 2021.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1016 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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