"If I were Dominic Thiem, I'd look at Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and what they've accomplished" - Jimmy Connors exhorts Austrian to continue the 'grind'

Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic

Dominic Thiem, who once found himself pushing the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for Grand Slam titles, has had a difficult couple of years on the ATP Tour.

The Austrian’s return from a long injury layoff has been anything but easy, and despite a string of promising results every now and then, he has failed to find his way back up. Thiem had recently spoken about feeling like time was running out for him, but if former World No. 1 Jimmy Connors’ words are anything to go by, the 30-year-old has plenty of fight left in him.

In his latest appearance on the Advantage Connors podcast, the former player said that Thiem should take inspiration from the ‘Big 3’ — Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer — who overcame several battles and continued to set new records into their mid and late-30s.

"If that was me and and I know Dominic Thiem's not me, but I'm just saying if that was me, I would say I'm 30 years old in comparison looking at how look Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Fedder, you know, look at some of these guys," Jimmy Connors said. "These guys who are playing well into their 30s, into their mid to late 30s, and what they've been able to accomplish. Why wouldn't you give yourself a chance to stay out there and and try to grind it out to get back to where you were." (at 41.00)

Connors went on to add that he knew first hand how hard it could be for a player to return from injury, but exhorted Thiem to continue to put in the “grind” so he did not have any regrets later in his life.

"I know what it's like coming back from it you know, from an injury, you've got to suck up a few losses. Two years is difficult, I get it but if you continue the grind... you can say, I gave it everything that I could to try to get back into the best that I could be and have no regrets." (at 40.30)

"Dominic Thiem still has his name and his reputation" - Jimmy Connors

Dominic Thiem at the 2024 Australian Open.
Dominic Thiem at the 2024 Australian Open.

Jimmy Connors noted that Dominic Thiem, a Grand Slam champion in an era dominated by Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, has built a reputation for himself and that still stands in today's game.

The former World No. 1 felt that the Austrian still had some time to figure things out for himself.

"Dominic Thiem has a name, you know, still even though he has been hurt, he's still has his name and his reputation. Being 30, yes, it is worth it," Jimmy Connors said. "You know, because he he has, he still has some time if he's willing to pay the price". (at 40.10)

Connors emphasised that winning came from confidence and that Thiem needed to put in the hours on the practice courts to rebuild that confidence.

"You go work hard and you continue and you train and you try to get that confidence because winning is all about confidence," he added. (at 40.15)

How did Novak Djokovic meet Jelena Ristic? All about the most admired couples in tennis