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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday November 9, 2019

Every year Dominic Thiem makes subtle improvements to his game that make him a more formidable force on the faster surfaces. This year, Thiem hopes that his newfound form on hard courts can help him make a breakthrough at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals.

But first, there’s the satisfaction of qualifying for the prestigious season-ending championships for a fourth time.

“For me it’s unreal that I’ve qualified for the fourth time already,” he said. “It was also a pretty special year on the court, off the court, with many things to deal with.”

Thiem’s title at Indian Wells was of huge importance for him, and he didn’t stop there. The Austrian won titles at Beijing and Vienna after the US Open and the World No. 5 cites these victories as meaningful.

Tennis Express

“After the US Open I made a big step into the right direction especially with my game on the hard courts, on the faster surfaces,” he said. “I come to the net more often, I improved my volleys, my serves, my returns. I’m happy with that and as a result of that I had pretty good results in the late stages of the season.”

Thiem’s relationship with former ATP star Nicolas Massu, which began in March, has also proven to be profitable.

“He gives me a very good plan for the matches,” Thiem said of the former World No.9 and Olympic Gold medallist. “We talk before every match, 10, 15 minutes where he gives me exactly the right tactics. And also he loves to watch tennis, he watches my opponents, he watches me and then we talk about it and so far he did a great job. … the chemistry in general is great between us.”

It would seem a logical next step that Thiem finishes such an impressive hard court season with a maiden trip to the semifinals at the World Tour Finals. It’s something Thiem allows himself to dream of, but he knows that the path is loaded with difficulties. Having Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in his group in London certainly won’t make life any easier for him.

“Of course that’s my big goal,” Thiem said, of reaching the semis. “The first two years it was just so nice to be here even, last year I wanted to be in the semifinals badly but I didn’t play that well. I think I’m playing way better this year, but the level is so high, it’s the eight best guys of the season, so it can also happen that I play three very good matches and I lose three of them, so there’s no guarantee.”


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