Dominic Thiem admitted going “full power” is “safer” but will it win big titles?

After his win in London against Pablo Carreno-Busta in London Dominic Thiem was talking to Leif Shiras at the SkyPad and it was fascinating to hear the Austrian open up about his performance more interestingly his overall game.

He admitted to going for power as it feels safe to him but is it hindering his progress? I think so…

Thiem’s game is like playing at 100mph throughout the whole match there isn’t much le-way and once plan A is out of the window it’s like watching a capitulation.

Thiem is a very talented player and has shots on his racket to mix it up so the question is why the power?

Thiem said on SkySports;

“My strokes are even safer when I hit full power, they get a bit unsafe when I hold back.”

Maybe holding back isn’t a bad thing, you won’t win a major going 100mph all the time even on his favoured surface of clay where variety is key.

 DT return

Graphic credit to ATP Infosys

I think this graphic above shows that need to go for power that he has.

God knows why Thiem is 3.3 metres behind the baseline returning Dimitrov’s second serve when on first serve he was 0.6 metres behind. He wants the time to line up for power and sometimes points go on too long with Thiem, you see opportunity to kill it off but it’s this stubborn style of play focusing on going for that power all the time reduces his effectiveness which reduces his efficency which isn’t as effective on a hard or grass court.

Everyone’s game needs to adapt to become a champion, playing one way because it is safe won’t win big titles. To win big titles you need variety and playing safe won’t do it you have to win ugly at times and I think it speaks volumes about his top 10 wins this year that his only win against a top 10 player on a hard court was his last win of 2017 against Pablo Carreno Busta!

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David Goffin – From his horror fall, defeating Roger and Rafa and a shot at making history!

In early June David Goffin unfortunately had to retire at Roland Garros serving for the first set against Zeballos. The Belgian was in great form going into the tournament and was tipped as an outsider but a horror fall rolling his ankle on the rain covers brought his tournament to an end.

DG fall RG

Following this he missed 7-8 weeks of tennis including Wimbledon and struggled to find form but in New York and travelling with his Belgian team-mates for Davis Cup he found form. Shortly after he won back to back titles in Shenzhen and Beijing as he looked to grab a surprising place in London and despite not performing to how he’d like in Shanghai or Paris a good run in Basel sandwiched between those events all but secured his place in London.

Last year Goffin had a taster of London as an alternate with one match left and he got taught a lesson by Novak but he took everything on board and despite that injury gap in the season he has stepped it up.

We saw those wins against Roger and Rafa in London which were totally unexpected but in between those we saw what happened against Grigor and he got blown off the court and that begged the question whether he hit a brick wall and was tired but he responds and the look of relief when he won in London this week showed what it meant to him.

This was the best week of his career and it could get much better for him as the season isn’t over yet as he looks to guide Belgium to their first Davis Cup win but face a tricky side in France full of talent but who have not lifted the title in 16 years.

 

Is the ATP tour too demanding on the top players? Should the tour protect them or should they protect themselves?

The calendar continues to grow but time can’t be moved! From January to November next year there are 40 weeks of tournaments in the tennis calendar which doesn’t include the two weeks for majors of Indian Wells and Miami as well as the Grand Slams so there is 46 weeks of consecutive tennis.

The tour begins in less than 6 weeks time on the 1st of January but has it become too demanding for the top ranked players on the tour. The tour is designed to suit a player ranked top 10 or top 50 but the demanding schedule of the tour does take it’s toll on the big players.

Top 30 players will be at the majors, ATP 500 and of course ATP 1000 events and will also play a handful of 250 thoroughout the year but for those at the top has it become too demanding?

With the 4 majors and of course the 9 Masters events which are all but mandatory the players have their own schedules to work with as well with ATP 500 tournaments and even some 250’s which may have special connection with players.

The issue with the calendar is that there sometimes isn’t much time between tournaments. For the top ranked players the tournament may begin on a Monday but they won’t be playing until Wednesday night then if they reach the final then play 5 days running and then have a 24-48 turnover from Shanghai and then back to Europe, there is little recovery.

This effects the top players more as they reach the latter stages of tournaments more  often but for lower ranked players it wouldn’t have a bigger effect as they may not reach the latter stages regularly so the demand of the calendar won’t affect them as much but if anything benefits them as earning a sustainable living on the tour for a low ranked player is tough.

I do think the scheduling has had effects on players’ fitness lately with a number of top players missing from the final chapter of this season and going forward will players have to chose tournaments more carefully but that may mean missing some of these ATP1000 events which the tour and tournament directors will not want.

So where do priorities lie? Do we try to protect the top players so they can feature at the big tournaments or do they protect themselves?

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Flair, elegance, variety and personality! A deserving debut champion!

Grigor Dimitrov started the season in fantastic fashion. Finishing the year as the world number three it began in January ranked at 17 in the world and his triumph in Brisbane sent waves through  the tour.

This looked like a man ready to fight at the top, it did fizzle as the season went on but he turned it on to show he does belong in the big time and there will be plenty more big time moments for him.

To go a week undefeated in London is fantastic in such a competitive atmosphere against the best.

Unfortunately people will look at it and say he didn’t have to play Federer or Nadal but I’m  a big believer of you can only play who is in front of you and you could argue his form was better as they both lost to Goffin but Grigor beat him twice…

He brought elegance, variety, flair and a personality and if anything a show built up to be about Roger and Rafa was all about this man and he totally deserved it!

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Elegant Dimitrov cruises to 6-0 6-1 victory

Grigor Dimitrov treated us to some exceptionally elegant tennis this afternoon as he demolished David Goffin 6-0 6-1 to advance to the semi-finals in London on his debut at the tournament.

He plays some beautiful tennis and this year at glimpses we have seen how brilliant he can be and I think I speak as a collective when I say everyone is happy to see him playing so well.

In his press conference after his win against Thiem he said he’s been fighting his demons and it opens up what he has had to battle to get to where he is now and Annabel Croft on Sky Sports summed it up perfectly through his hard work, determination and graft he has gotten here and he deserves it with the younger players on the tour on around him he has stepped it up when he has to!

Semi-finals set for Dimitrov on the weekend with a match against Carreno-Busta in hand as well.

GG

Nervous Cilic on verge of going home after another defeat!

Marin Cilic is on the verge of going home. Out of the  eight players in London right now after Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal you’d say he’s the second most experienced player in the field with a Grand Slam, Masters 1000 title and a third appearance in London which looks like ending winless.

Cilic will be disappointed and will know himself it will take something extraordinary to qualify for the semi-finals now. This is Marin’s third appearance in London and so far he has a win/loss ratio of 1-7 at the tour finals and now plays a player he has a win/loss ratio of 1-7 in Roger Federer. That one win for Marin? US Open Semi Final back in 2014!

We have seen him get frustrated in the first couple of matches and well the nerves have gotten to him when it matters the most. At this event between the best it’s the smaller margins which cost big at the end of the day and he will look back to losing against Zverev despite being 3-1 in the final set and 3-0 to Sock in the final set as two matches that got away and he should have won.

After winning the second set today Sock seemed to fizzle out and Marin played a great few games of tennis winning 12/13 points to begin set three but was he guilty of seeing the finish line?

Federer wins tonight and Cilic goes home!

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Nadal – “I am off, my season has finished”

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The Spaniard skipped Paris before the season ender here in London but has called time on his tournament and of course his year.

15 minutes after finishing the match with Goffin he arrived in the press conference room to announce his season is over.

Nadal said

“I am off. My season has finished”

Pablo Carreno-Busta will now take his place at the World Tour Finals as an alternate.

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