“I’m a Bit Like Stan Wawrinka”: Dominic Thiem Feels He Cannot Be Compared to Rafael Nadal

Published 02/09/2021, 12:09 PM EST
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)


Known for his aggressive playing style, World No.3 Dominic Thiem has established himself as a force to be reckoned with.

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Thiem’s powerful groundstrokes coupled with his defensive skills make a lethal combination that has overwhelmed the best players frequently.

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his group stage match against France’s Benoit Paire REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

During a recent interview with Tennis Magazine, the host asked Thiem whether his energy-sapping game could become a problem in the long run. The US Open champion declared that he believes he can play another 4-5 years at a high level considering he’s 27 right now.

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Dominic Thiem compares himself to Stan

The Austrian gave the example of his arch-rival Rafael Nadal, who many thought won’t be able to continue in his 30s because of his physical game style but has proven everyone wrong.

However, Thiem opined that Nadal was an exception and admitted that his career might take the same trajectory as that of Stan Wawrinka’s.

“Not yet. I’m 27 and believe that I can still play for four or five years at the level. At some point, it could become a problem. With Nadal, you thought that too. But he is an absolute exception, you can’t compare yourself with him,” said Thiem.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Dominic Thiem of Austria and Rafael Nadal of Spain embrace at the net following their Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Thiem talked about Wawrinka, who peaked late in his career and delivered extraordinary performances over a 4-year span by winning 3 Grand Slam titles. However, lingering knee problems exacted a heavy toll on Wawrinka’s game; a fate that Thiem prays doesn’t befall him.

“Maybe I’m a little bit like Stan Wawrinka, who at 28 is at his peak his career and then had four, five unbelievable years in which he won three Grand Slams.

“He got small problems, for example, with his knee, at 33. That can be due to this incredibly exhausting game. I hope not, but it can happen to me the same way,” added Thiem.

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his group stage match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Thiem riding on US Open success

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Having won his first Grand Slam last year, Thiem will aim to maintain the same momentum and win more big titles in his prime.

Over the last few years, Thiem has consistently beaten the top players in the world with the latest showdown going down at the 2020 ATP Nitto Finals, where Thiem defeated both Nadal and Djokovic en route to the final.

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Last year, Thiem lost to Djokovic in the 2020 Australian Open Final by the narrowest of margins. However, now with the experience of winning a Grand Slam, Thiem has the firepower to lift the title at this year’s Happy Slam.

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Kshitij Tayal

399 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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