Under new coach Nicolas Massu, Dominic Thiem has caught fire taking his first Masters title at Indian Wells over Roger Federer, then last month beating Rafael Nadal again on the clay. And last week he beat Federer again in Madrid.
So what’s Massu brought to the table for the Austrian?
“I think that my game got more unpredictable,” Thiem said of the Chilean’s influence. “That’s one big part. I mean, I have amazing groundstrokes. I’ve learned them. It was amazing with Gunter [Bresnik], but last few years sometimes I had the problems that I made amazing shots, but the game was too unpredictable somehow. At certain times I had the feeling opponents know where I’m going to play. I was hitting amazing shots which should be winners, but they haven’t been. I am adding some options to my game now, like some dropshots, some other shots which I wouldn’t hit before.
‘When I was really young, I had an amazing talent to read the game and everything. That got a little bit lost. Now I have a really nice feeling that’s somehow coming back.”
With Massu, Thiem has gone 14-2 and has become a real threat to win in Paris where he made the finals last year. But he still says Rafael Nadal is man to beat.
“Rafa is always going to be the No. 1 contender, closely followed by Novak now because he’s at his best again right before the French Open,” he said. “Then there’s another group, four, five, six players which I think also can win almost every week a big title.”
Thiem also added that he is trying to cut down his schedule which has also been a knock on him.
“My goal is to play less tournaments, for sure, but to play well in every single tournament I play,” Thiem said. “Since Indian Wells, I’m very, very happy with my performances. It’s working out really good so far. I’m trying to keep that good shape and good momentum up.”
Thiem begins play in Rome tomorrow against a different lefty from Spain, Fernando Verdasco.
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