Dominic Thiem Reveals How He Battles the Demons Inside

Published 01/23/2021, 8:00 AM EST
Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates after winning the first set during his Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day ten of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)


Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem has revealed how he summons the mental strength to tame the demons inside and keep his level up week-in and week-out. 

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An unforgiving sport in more ways than one, modern-day tennis not only tests the limits of endurance, stamina, and fitness of players but also puts their mental side under stern examination, almost as if to see if their iron will remain unshakeable or wilt in the face of extreme stress.

Thiem talks ‘demons’

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Nick Kyrgios, for one, not only saw the dark side of tennis but lived through it as well. The maverick Australian came out with his struggles with depression last year, revealing how the game took him to a “dark place”.

Weighing in on the mental challenges of the game in an interview with a German publication, Thiem said, “The demons are there. I don’t know how it is for other players, I can’t look inside their heads.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 13: Dominic Thiem of Austria returns the ball during his Men’s Singles final match against and Alexander Zverev of Germany on Day Fourteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“For me, they are there almost every match. There are only a few matches where everything goes perfectly.”

The current World Number 3 further added that a player can feel helpless and lonely when losses pile up and the negative energy mutates into a hydra-headed monster, eating away at the self-belief, subsequently undermining the skill.

“Tennis is a difficult sport mentally”: Dominic Thiem

“Tennis is just a difficult sport mentally: because mistakes happen all the time, because you’re completely alone on the court, because you don’t necessarily have any influence on everything.

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“You depend a lot on your opponent. And this whole combination of things makes it extremely difficult,” Thiem said.

He added that the best, and perhaps the only way to deal with the demons inside is to realize and accept that they are not going to go away.

“Once you’ve learned how to deal with your own demons, and accepted that they are not going to go away, it becomes easier. It has been working out better and better for me in the past couple of years,” the reigning US Open champion said.

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DIVE DEEPER

Dominic Thiem Confident of Adapting to the Conditions at the Australian Open 2021

8 months ago

Thiem, who had his first taste of Grand Slam glory last after playing three finals, will bid for his second Major title at the Australian Open. Incidentally, he was the losing finalist at Melbourne Park last year.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 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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