Following his remarkable US Open triumph, Dominic Thiem has cemented his place as an ambassador for the sport of tennis in his home country of Austria. And recently, he and his father Wolfgang Thiem have started a new tennis academy in the European nation.
Wolfgang spoke to the media following the announcement of the academy, ahead of Dominic Thiem's defence of his title at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Wolfgang stressed on the trials and tribulations in the development of young tennis players, and how conventional education can come in the way of their progress.
A tennis career and a school are incompatible: Dominic Thiem's father
The World No. 3 and his father are in charge of a newly opened academy under the Austrian Tennis Committee, which features three hardcourts with varying surfaces - one of which has been named after Dominic Thiem.
With honing of young talent such an important part of the academy, Wolfgang has carefully analyzed the schooling system in Austria to determine its compatibility with tennis coaching. Dominic Thiem's father has observed that the parents of most youngsters are not aware of the full extent of time and effort required to forge a professional tennis career.
"When I meet parents whose children are at the start of their careers, I feel sorry for them. They don't know what to expect," said Wolfgang Thiem.
Wolfgang further elaborated on the high costs of tennis training, and how the pursuit of academics doesn't allow parents to divert enough attention towards the sport.
"You just have no idea how much it costs. A tennis career and a school are incompatible. The school system does not allow a tennis career. Those in charge have no idea how long it takes," the US Open champion's father added.
Dominic Thiem himself started playing tennis professionally at a very early age, doing well in the juniors before making his senior debut in 2011. Still a close part of his team, the 27-year-old's father and entire family have played a huge role in his career so far.
Dominic Thiem will now turn his focus to defending his title at the ATP 500 event in Vienna. The tournament has a packed draw due to the stop-start nature of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thiem will then look to make a deep run at the Paris Masters, before trying to better last year's runner-up showing at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.