Adapting your game from clay to hard court can be one of the most difficult things in tennis.
Dominic Thiem over the last twelve months or so has had exceptional results on the hard courts at Indian Wells, ATP Finals and London and it’s simply down to his proactive character and his forehand.
Dominic on a clay court as we know does a lot of his early damage in rallies from behind the baseline and gradually pushes forward up the court.
I’ve said before he is proactive and you can see that in his tactics especially returning serve, he has began to react quicker to his usual deep position and will look at different. A lot of these slights changes have come since Nicolas Massu joined the team and I would put that hiring up Murray bringing in Lendl. I think this move for Dominic could be a huge catalyst in his career.
The main aspect of his game which is a game changer on the hard courts is his forehand and where he is at his most effective is from three positions but one inparticular.
There are three positions from Dominic’s win over Djokovic at the ATP Finals last November on where he played the majority of his forehands from.
Number 3 is the deepest, usually in this position because of the depth of Djokovic’ shots forcing the Austrian back but able to push his forehand down the line of cross court.
Number 2 is a little closer to the baseline but still a position where Thiem can do damage, it is a bit more forward thinking but from here Dominic Thiem will rarely look for that inside out forehand. Instead he is looking at sending it down the middle out towards Novak’s forehand which then bring him into number 1.
Number 1 is where Dominic Thiem wants to be, he wants to be in that inside-out position and hitting that forehand cross court or down the line. He doesn’t want it coming back and you will see him unleash the power behind it.
We all go crazy over his one handed backhand but it is his forehand on the hard courts which has propelled his game and taken him to the next level.
I remember saying ages ago that I want Dominic Thiem to be more of an all year-around player and not just someone who performs on the clay and he’s become that.
We’ve seen him win Indian Wells and make the finals in London and the Australian Open so it is there and it’s building. During this time he has beaten Djokovic, Federer and Nadal and 11 of his last 14 top ten wins have been on hard courts compared to just 2 of his previous 13.