This past weekend, Dominic Thiem won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in New York at 27 years of age. In recent decades, very few players who have won their first Grand Slam title after the age of 24 have gone on to become multiple Grand Slam champions.
Czech Ivan Lendl won his first Major at the age of 24 at the 1984 French Open and went on to win seven more Grand Slams. Pat Rafter was 24 when he won his first Slam, and then won one more.
Andy Murray was 25 when he won his first at the 2012 US Open and has two more Majors. Stan Wawrinka meanwhile was 28 when he won the 2014 Australian Open and has three Majors in all too (both Murray and Wawrinka are still active and capable of adding to that count).
Given this context, Gunter Bresnik, Dominic Thiem’s former long-time coach, has some high expectations from the Austrian - but expectations that surely could be achieved.
Dominic Thiem is the guy since 2016 who deserves a Slam the most: Bresnik
In an interview with the New York Times, Bresnik said he would not be surprised if Dominic Thiem went on to win 5 to 10 Slams in the next five years.
“You might think winning your first title at 27 is really late. But I’ve said for 10 years, the best time for a tennis player today is between 26 and 33. If Dominic Thiem wins five to ten Grand Slam titles in the next five years, I honestly would not be surprised,” Bresnik said.
Dominic Thiem came from two sets to love down on Sunday to win 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) against his 23-year-old friend Alexander Zverev.
While many criticised the level of play of the final, it was not at all surprising given that the tennis circuit was shut for five months until early August. Another important factor was that both players were gunning for their first Grand Slam singles title, so were understandably nervous.
"The level of the match was for me one of the worst finals I saw in my life. But it was two young players trying to do something they’d never done before in their lives. For me, the better technique lasts the longest in a match, and Dominic Thiem has the better technique and is the guy since 2016 who deserves the Grand Slam title the most whenever the Big Three guys were not in the picture anymore," Bresnik added.
Dominic Thiem will now head to the French Open with the Grand Slam monkey off his back. Bresnik believes that the switch to clay, where the Austrian has had a lot of success in the past - including reaching two French Open finals - should not be a problem.
“For Dominic to move from any surface to clay, I would say it takes half an hour. He’s so used to it,” Bresnik went on.Published 15 Sep 2020, 20:04 IST