Dennis Novak and Dominic Thiem will be representing the Austrian team in the inaugural ATP Cup 2020. Both of them share a very strong bond since childhood days and teaming up at ATP cup is like the culmination of that long journey.
However, Dennis Novak recently revealed that the relationship between the two had a rocky start. Novak didn’t think too highly of Thiem despite the latter being a very accomplished junior player.
“When we were 11 or 12 and I didn’t know very well, I thought he was really arrogant,” Novak said smiling.
THIEM WAS A FABULOUS YOUNG PLAYER
Novak revealed that Thiem won almost every Austrian under 10, under 12 tournament. Even though Thiem was the clear no 1, Novak didn’t find him amicable.
Thiem thrashed Novak in their first match at an under 14 tournament. This turned Novak
TRAINING TOGETHER AT GUNTER BRESNIK’S TENNIS ACADEMY
Novak’s hostility towards Thiem finally decreased when he went to train at Gunter Bresnik’s academy in Vienna. Thiem had already spent years under Bresnik’s tutelage.
The players spent a lot of time practicing together. Novak realized that Thiem was the exact opposite of what he thought. He was actually a very nice and humble person.
TRAINING WITH THIEM’S FATHER
Novak and Thiem soon became inseparable as Novak began training with Dominic’s father, Wolfgang. (He is still a part of Novak’s team). They attend classes together in school, used the same training facilities and spent a lot of their free time together.
Initially, both had similar career routes. Both of them turned pro in 2011. They even teamed up on home soil in 2016 and reached their first ATP tour doubles final.
However, Thiem saw a lot more success. He broke into the top 50 just three years after turning pro. In contrast, Novak’s rise has been slower. The 26 year old currently stands at No 109. However, he is expected break into the top 100 in the first three months of the next year.
Thiem is currently world no 4 and one of the hottest commodities in tennis. However, he still hasn’t forgotten his best friend. The pair still keep in close contact and spend time together when they’re at the same tournaments. Thiem even sat in the stands to cheer Novak on during his second round qualifying win this year at the Wimbledon.
Novak finds it unbelievable that even after so much success, Thiem finds time to cheer his friend in a qualifying match. He marvels at the humility of the Austrian star.
JOINING FORCES FOR ATP CUP
Novak and Thiem will now join forces for the ATP Cup. They face Croatia, Argentina and Poland in Group E. Thiem is Austria’s only player in the top 100.
However, he is confident that Novak is capable of punching above his weight. The world No 4 believes that it will be foolish to judge Novak by his ranking. On his day, Novak is capable of beating anybody in the world.
Thiem is not wrong in believing this. Last year, Novak registered his firsy top 20 win against Lucas Pouille at Wimbledon.
It will be really interesting to see the camaraderie of Dennis Novak and Dominic Thiem in the ATP Cup.