The hearing over the legal dispute between Dominic Thiem and former coach / manager Gunter Bresnik began earlier this week. However, recent reports suggest the two parties might be heading for an an out-of-court settlement.
Thiem and Bresnik parted ways in the early part of 2019, after working together for more than 15 years. Bresnik has now sued Thiem for 450,000 euros, claiming that he is still entitled to a share of the World No. 3's income.
The matter came up for hearing at the Palace of Justice in Vienna on Friday, where both parties were present. Thiem was accompanied by his brother Moritz to the court.
According to sources close to the respective legal teams, Thiem and Bresnik have agreed on starting talks about an out-of-court resolution. The settlement discussion will reportedly be led by a judicial mediator in the last week of February, without the presence of lawyers on either side.
During the proceedings in Vienna this week, Bresnik addressed Thiem to find out if he would like to discuss the matter directly.
"For me, Dominic is crucial in the whole thing. Would you like to have a chat, Dominic?" Bresnik is reported to have said.
What is the dispute between Dominic Thiem and Gunter Bresnik all about?
Gunter Bresnik acted as both coach and manager of Dominic Thiem during their partnership of more than 15 years. And Bresnik believes he is entitled to a share of Thiem's income related to contracts that were signed when he acted as his manager.
There was reportedly an agreement signed between the two parties in 2014, guaranteeing Bresnik 30% of income from these contracts until Thiem retired. That contract is reported to have been amended in September 2016 to make it time-bound.
When the two parties split in 2019, Herwig Straka, the current manager of Dominic Thiem, negotiated a settlement with Bresnik through which the latter would receive staggered sums from Thiem's income. But in February 2020, Dominic Thiem's legal team declared this new contract null and void on the grounds that they were "fraudulently deceived" by Bresnik - a claim that Bresnik denies.
Bresnik's legal team has also stated in court that they would be ready to terminate the contract if their client gets 20% of the disputed income for three years, which they believe is a very generous offer on their side.
Thiem is currently in Austria for off-season training, and plans to leave for Melbourne on 13 January. He will participate in the ATP Cup in the first week of February, followed by the Australian Open which begins on 8 February.
It remains to be seen if these off-court issues will have an impact on the Austrian's preparation and training for Melbourne.Published 20 Dec 2020, 14:20 IST