In 2020, Dominic Thiem became the first male player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam title. He is one of the finest active players in the game and is a favorite at most tournaments he enters.
This article will explore the man behind the sublime tennis.
|1.85 m (6’1”)||79 kg (174 lbs)||Born September 3rd, 1993||Father: Wolfgang Thiem |
Mother: Karin Thiem
Brother: Moritz Thiem
Who Is Dominic Thiem?
Dominic Thiem is an Austrian tennis player who has been competing professionally since 2011. He made his senior Grand Slam debut at the 2014 Australian Open, where he lost in the second round.
Dominic was born in Wiener Neustadt in the East of Austria. He grew up in a nearby town called Lichtenwӧrth where he is still based today. He first picked up a tennis racket at the age of six. His younger brother is also a tennis player, while both of his parents are coaches.
By the end of his 2021 season, he had earned 309 singles victories on the professional tour.
The Prince of Clay?
The “King of Clay” is what many call Rafael Nadal, but Dominic Thiem’s recent results on this surface have earned him the title “Prince of Clay” from some. Most notably, he reached two back-to-back French Open finals in 2018-19. In fact, between 2016 and 2019 at the French Open, he only ever lost to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
As of 2021, he has already beaten Nadal four times on clay. In addition to his two Roland Garros final losses, he lost both of his clay Masters 1000 finals too. Despite his phenomenal clay-court game, Thiem’s wait for an elite clay-court title continues.
He won his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells in 2019 by defeating Roger Federer over three sets. Dominic Thiem has claimed 17 titles overall and has at least five wins over each member of the “Big 3.”
Ranking-wise, Thiem has been as high as 3rd in the world. Between June 2016 and October 2021, he never left the top 10 in the ATP rankings.
I listed Dominic Thiem 13th on my list of the greatest clay-court players of all time.
The 2020 US Open Champion
Prior to capturing his first major, he had lost his first three major finals. We already mentioned that he lost the 2018 and 2019 French Open finals to Rafael Nadal. In the latter, he managed to wrestle a set from the Spaniard on Court Philippe Chatrier but lost convincingly in the end.
In the 2020 Australian Open final he came very close to victory. Playing against the defending champion Novak Djokovic, he took a 2-1 lead in sets but eventually succumbed to Djokovic’s fighting spirit.
Dominic’s historic breakthrough came at the 2020 US Open. In the final, he trailed by two sets to Alexander Zverev and did the unthinkable. By winning the next three sets and the title, he claimed a few significant records:
- The first man in the open era to win a US Open title after losing the first two sets
- The first man to win a US Open final with a 5th-set tiebreak
- The first Austrian to win the US Open
- The first new Grand Slam champion since Marin Cilic in 2014
- The first man born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam
Dominic Thiem – Player Profile
- 1.85 m (6’1”)
Thiem is by no means a short player. However, he is not as tall as some of the young giants like Medvedev and Zverev. He is the same height as two of the sport’s most successful competitors: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Even if you consider Thiem short, his powerful groundstrokes make up for any lack of reach. His lethal one-handed backhand is most famous and has been known to blow opponents off the court.
You might think that fast serves are reserved for the tallest players, but Dominic Thiem proves this is untrue. He can serve as quickly as 145 mph (233 km/h), something few can return.
- 79 kg (174 lbs)
Dominic Thiem is neither very heavy nor light. Based on his height, his body mass index (BMI) is just over 23, which is normal for athletes and non-athletes alike. For reference, Federer and Nadal are both listed as 85 kg (187 lbs) at the same height.
Considering how ferociously Thiem strikes the ball, you would expect him to weigh much more. He demonstrates that you don’t have to be heavy to hit a tennis ball hard. With good hitting mechanics, you can strike the ball harder with less effort. This enables Dominic to dictate matches from the baseline while conserving energy.
- Born: September 3rd, 1993
Thiem is a player born between two generations; he is not old enough to fit in with the likes of the big 3, Wawrinka, Del Potro, and Nishikori, etc. On the other hand, he is also too old to be considered a part of the “next-gen” with Zverev, Tsitsipas, and Rublev, etc.
While he made his Grand Slam breakthrough before the next-gen players, he has less time left in his career in which to collect titles. With that said, he only turned 28 in 2021, so he likely has 5-10 good years left in professional tennis. That is plenty of time for such a capable player.
- Father: Wolfgang Thiem
- Mother: Karin Thiem
- Brother: Moritz Thiem
Wolfgang Thiem became acquainted with Günter Bresnik when he started coaching at his tennis center in Vienna in 1997. This relationship was crucial because Günter eventually became Dominic’s long-term coach. The pair worked together from 2002 until 2019, at which point Nicolás Massú took over as Dominic’s head coach.
In 2020, Wolfgang started his own tennis academy in Vienna where he shares his experiences of helping his son to become a top player.
His brother Moritz is six years younger than him and is a professional player, though not nearly as accomplished as Dominic thus far.
Dominic Thiem was in a relationship with fellow tennis player Kristina Mladenovic until late 2019.
Final Thoughts on Dominic Thiem
Thiem rose above his fellow young players by winning a first Grand Slam title and, if he maintains his good form, he will surely win more. His playing style has proven most effective on clay and hard courts, so the Australian, French, and US Open are where he will probably increase his tally.
He has not had outstanding results on grass ― he has only made the 4th round at Wimbledon and won one grass-court title. This is the surface he needs to improve on to properly dominate tennis in the future.
His hard-hitting and well-rounded game can be problematic for anybody. He is in his prime and will continue to be for several years. So, can he become the world number 1 and win multiple slams? The question for Thiem seems to be when, rather than if.