Dominic Thiem: The next big hope of tennis
We are witnessing the most significant period in tennis history. There are not one, not two, but three legends who have or rather who are dominating this game with high consistency and craftsmanship for close to two decades now. But nature will soon have its way with this great game, and three legends will step away from the competition. And when it happens, every single tennis fan around the world will look for that one player on whom their expectations will get fulfilled.
When Roger Federer started growing into his greatness, it seemed almost impossible for any other player to achieve any similar feats in this game. But then Rafael Nadal came, the greatest fighter this game has ever witnessed. When these two were going toe-to-toe against each other, nobody believed that there was space for the third legend. But then Novak Djokovic, with his incredible mental resilience, carried that symbol of excellence forward with an astounding record. Now, when these three are closer to the finish line than ever, the world was desperately searching for a new player who can become this symbol of hope, persistence, resilience, and elegance.
Enter Dominic Thiem.
The 26-year old Austrian who has been an apprentice for almost four years. The Austrian No. 1, who turned pro in 2011, is known to be aggressive at baseline with a strong backhand maintaining Federer-like elegance to the eyes. His forehand will reminds one of Stan Wawrinka at his prime, to which not many have found a strong response even today. His frequent use of massive, penetrating groundstrokes can tire any opponent. His ability to sustain long baseline rallies and his top-spin serves have been the prominent contributor in his success on slow-paced surfaces.
His mental resilience and his ability to maneuver tough situations were already known to the world when he beat Djokovic in 2019, Roland Garros semi-finals, or Federer in 2019 ATP Finals. His overall reach of the court during Australian Open finals reminded everyone of Nadal under pressure. His ability to produce some of the jaw-dropping aces and backhand slices gave glimpses of Federer when he is enjoying the atmosphere on the court.
He was in Rod Laver Arena, playing the final against the greatest champion of that turf - Djokovic, and still, there was almost not a set, game, point, or rally where Djokovic was a clear winner. Unfortunately, some of the misfired shots of heavy rounds led to the defeat of Thiem. But when you look back at the past two weeks of the start of this season and last week of ATP finals from 2019, you will be assured that the future of the tennis is in safe hands.
There have been many golden generations to astound us in this world right from the times of Arthur Ashe or Rod Laver right up till Andy Murray. This world will eventually lose three of the greatest-ever and a huge lacunae wil be there to be filled. It is grim without their talents. Suddenly, appears a baby-faced Austrian, challenges this moment of grimness in tennis, making everyone’s jaw drop with his perfect blend of resilience, consistency, and elegance, ready to carry this world of tennis on his shoulders.
Thiem is the next big hope. Let's hope he lives up to the promise and expectations.
Published 05 Feb 2020, 01:55 IST