“That’s My Goal”: Dominic Thiem Desires to Draw Parallels with Stan Wawrinka’s Career

Published 05/19/2021, 12:32 PM EDT
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

After coming close on a number of occasions, Dominic Thiem finally managed to get a maiden Grand Slam title win at last year’s US Open. However, the returns on the Tour since have been underwhelming at best for the Austrian tennis star.


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He fell to a listless defeat to Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open after raising hopes of a second straight Grand Slam title with a stunning come-from-behind win against home favorite Nick Kyrgios. The current World No.3 followed up his Melbourne Park disappointment with early exits in Doha and Dubai.

The run of unflattering performances forced into introspection and he announced an extended break from the Tour to fix minor niggles and reignite the fire in his belly.


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Dominic Thiem returned from break with a bang in Madrid

The seven-week break seemed to have worked wonders as Thiem launched his clay court season with a run to the semifinals at Madrid.

Though he crashed out in the last-four stage after losing to eventual champion Alexander Zverev, there were a lot of positives to take to Rome, his next port of call. However, his campaign at the Italian Open ended with a loss in an epic quarter-final clash against eventual semifinalist Lorenzo Sonego.

The loss, though, hasn’t dulled his renewed sense of purpose and hunger as he has landed in Lyon in the hope of adding to his 18 career Tour titles and finding his beast-mode on clay before heading to Roland-Garros.

The Austrian has a score to settle against 13-time champion Rafael Nadal against whom he suffered four of his seven losses in Paris — two in back-to-back finals in 2018 and 2019.

Though coming off an extended break, he still has his eyes fixed on his primary goal this year — taking down the ‘King of Clay’ at Roland-Garros.

INDIAN WELLS, CA – Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland talks at the net after his three set victory against Dominic Thiem of Austria in their quarter final match during day eleven of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

 Thiem says everyone saw him as the favorite for the US Open title but himself

Retracing his maiden Grand Slam-winning campaign, Thiem said while adapting to the bubble life, which was a first for all the players at the time, a “huge change” from the usual din of a packed arena and a challenge in itself, he was anxious not to let another Major campaign end in agony.

Recalling his final with Alexander Zverev, the Austrian said, “I think everybody else declared me to be the favorite but me. I knew how good Sascha is…The pressure was huge. I really thought this might be my final chance.”

Looking ahead, the 27-year-old said he hopes to emulate veteran Swiss star Stan Wawrinka and finish with a couple more Grand Slam titles at least.

He added that he wants to leverage his US Open success to win more Slams going forward.


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“(Wawrinka) had five amazing years where he was playing well in all the big tournaments, winning two more Majors. And that’s my goal, that I can use the huge boost that the US Open gave (me),” Thiem said.


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The Austrian will open his Lyon campaign against Englishman Cameron Norrie on Thursday.


Priyabrata Chowdhury

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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.