56% win percentage on hard courts, how does Dominic Thiem turn it around?

Dominic Thiem’s career win percentage on clay courts is 75% on hard courts it is 56%.

If he wants to be considered a top contender this needs to change. The way Dominic plays on clay courts is fantastic but I’m sure he doesn’t want his year defined by 6-8 week period?

I’ve been going through everything I have collected this last week and throughout the years and watching back different matches and there are some things I’ve noticed.

The first is service return.

I get why he stands back on clay courts due to the speed but why is he coming to the baseline to return first serves on hard courts but on the second serve he is falling back even though second serves are naturally slower so he is camping at the back of the court for a slower serve, I don’t get it. He lines up the backhand with such a swing but benefiting from it?

Using the stats from InfoSys on the ATP website his return record is number 24 in the world which isn’t bad but when you see almost 30% of his returns are considered as short and opponents usual go for the wide serve against Thiem he isn’t returning with interest.

Predictability is a big issue.

The way he lines up shots makes it obvious what he is doing. There is nothing wrong with being predictable in tennis but you have to be effective.

I was fascinated to hear Thiem talk about Khachanov’s win in Paris in London the other day and how the tour is going towards playing this aggressive style, I’ve seen Dominic do it and it has been a car crash.

Against Federer he took the foot off the gas and it was a shambles where as against Nishikori he went full pelt and I was waiting for the error, this style isn’t sustainable.

I’m going to take us back to New York.

He defeated Steve Johnson in five sets but the game plan confused me and it should have been easier.

He plays this forehand, it was nothing to write home about and didn’t ask questions.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 18.03.52

What happens now completely confuses me.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 18.03.54

Image Credit – US Open

Why the hell does he go back and camp behind the baseline. Steve plays a drop shot from the back of the court and wins the point. Very odd. This works on a clay court but hard court is a different game.

I think to be successful on hard courts he needs to think about where he is playing the game. Nadal can play the same way on both surfaces because of how clever and talented he is.

Thiem is being naive playing this way. He will be a contender in Rome, Madrid, Monte-Carlo and Paris but apart from there he needs to be more aggressive and ditch this defensive approach to be a successful on hard courts.

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