World No.5 Dominic Thiem has come a long way from losing in the second round last year to reaching the finals of the Australian Open 2020 after defeating Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday. However, how did Prince of Clay evolved his game on the hard courts?
The 26-year-old has certainly made steady improvements to become a hard-force on hard-courts in the past one year. Known for his clay-court success, Thiem clinched three of his five titles on the hard surface in the 2019 season. He gradually became a big threat for his opponents on the faster court.
“I made a huge step forward”: Dominic Thiem
Two months later after his defeat in Melbourne, Thiem made a major breakthrough, winning his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title – unexpectedly on the hard court of Indian Wells Masters.
Thiem believes his victory over Roger Federer in the finals motivated him to develop his game on other surfaces. He clinched two more hard court titles in Vienna and Beijing. Furthermore, the Austrian finished the season by reaching the finals of the ATP World Tour Finals, which is played in the indoor hard courts.
“Indian Wells, that victory gave me so much relief and so much confidence because I finally got my first Masters 1000 title on hard court,” Thiem said in the post-match press conference on Friday.
He further added: “Then I think last fall in Asia. Then in the indoor season, I made this huge step forward. I really developed my game I think in the right direction.”
“I am playing very well on faster courts”: Thiem
Thiem explained that he got more aggressive on hard courts, started to serve smarter and to return better. He divulged that his aggressive game also gave him a lot of confidence for this new year and for Australia.
“I told myself, ‘If I can be in the finals in London, the ATP Finals? why not as well in a hard-court Slam?’ Since then I know that I’m also playing very well on the faster surfaces,” he concluded.
Dominic Thiem has a 131-92 career win-loss record on hard court. He will aim to improve his results to 132 wins on Sunday, defeating the defending champion Novak Djokovic to clinch his maiden Grand Slam title.
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