Dominic Thiem starting to master the art of consistency against the Big Three
Did you know Dominic Thiem beat Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in each of his most recent matches against them? Did you know Thiem has a 60% winning ratio against Federer?
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? However, chalking up wins against the Big Three is nothing new for the Austrian as he has been doing it since the 2016 season.
Three years ago, at the age of 22, Thiem made people sit up and take note of his talent when he pulled off wins over Nadal (Buenos Aires) and Federer (Rome and Stuttgart).
In 2017 he proved that those wins were no fluke as he got the scalps of then world No 1 Andy Murray (Barcelona) as well as Nadal (Rome) and Djokovic (Roland Garros).
But while it is great to get wins over those illustrious names, he often let himself down as he failed to back up a win over the Big Three with another win, especially in a final.
After the 2018 season, a year during which he finished runner-up to Nadal at the French Open, Thiem identified consistency at the business of tournaments as an area in which needed to improve.
“For me personally – I believe the others as well – it’s the consistency, which distinguishes Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, that is still missing,” he told Westfalen in an interview in December.
“They will beat one of the other top players in the quarter-final and then in the semi-final and in the final.
“I have beaten them, but then the next match or the day after you cannot keep up that level.”
Fast forward four months and Thiem appears to have solved the problem of not backing up the big wins.
The year started slowly with a second-round exit at the Australian, but at the BNP Paribas Open final in March, there were no signs of nerves when he captured his third win in five matches against Federer.
At the Barcelona Open in April he stunned Nadal in the semi-finals to claim his fourth win over the Spaniard, but whereas in previous years he was unable to follow it up with another win, this time he dispatched Daniil Medvedev with ease in the final.
Naturally the next big step would be to win a Grand Slam and many believe he is the Prince of Clay, ready to ascent the throne once Nadal calls it a day.
But the way he performing at the moment, he looks ready to dethrone the King of Clay.
And it is not just on the red dirt where he is doing the business as he beat Federer on the hard courts of Indian Wells in March and on grass in Stuttgart in 2016.
Next up is the Madrid Open and he has fond memories of Caja Magica as he reached the final the last two years. He beat Nadal in the 2018 quarter-final only to lose to Zverev in the final while Nadal was victorious in the 2017 final.
With the Indian Wells and Barcelona titles already in the bag, he can lay down a real marker for Roland Garros with victory in Madrid.
More from Tennis365:
Five WTA stars looking to win a maiden Grand Slam in 2021: From Aryna Sabalenka to Karolina Pliskova
Oli Jefford picks out five stars who could win a maiden major.
Nick Kyrgios ‘is the black sheep of the ATP’ and ‘likes attention’, says Stefanos Tsitsipas
“He likes attention,” says Tsitsipas of Kyrgios.
After ‘hell of a tournament’ in 2020, Dominic Thiem’s ‘next big goal is the Australian Open’
Dominic Thiem sets sights on Australian Open.
Surpassing Roger Federer in Grand Slam record race ‘not an obsession’, says Rafael Nadal
“I keep going, doing it my way,” says Rafael Nadal.
Exclusive – Barbara Schett picks her Australian Open favourite and admits star names may struggle
Barbara Schett fancies Ashleigh Barty to enjoy success in Melbourne.
T365 Recalls: Caroline Wozniacki captures sole Grand Slam title at 2018 Australian Open
We look back at Caroline Wozniacki’s moment of glory.
Andy Murray’s tips on how to stay tennis fit during lockdown, featuring burpees, lunges and chin tucks
Andy Murray’s advice on how to stay fit.
Johanna Konta ‘feeling really good and very lucky’ with end of Australian quarantine period in sight
Johanna Konta’s two-week quarantine period nearly over.
CAS hears urgent appeal against doping ban by suspended Dayana Yastremska
Dayana Yastremska hopes to play at Australian Open.
‘I would love to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this year,’ says Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas sets his sights high.