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Will 2015 be Dominic Thiem's Time?

Dominic Thiem, just 21 years old, is a rising star on the ATP Tour. Currently, he is the youngest player ranked in the top fifty, with a career high ranking of 36, presently ranked 39. Undeniably, 2014 has been a stellar year with multiple wins over Marcels Granollers, a well-fought three set loss to Andy Murray and an impressive win on clay in Madrid, coming back from a set down to defeat then third ranked Stan Wawrinka.

Though he has yet to win a tournament, Thiem competed well in his first ATP Tour 250 final in his home country, Austria, losing in three tight sets to another emerging talent, 23 year old and 27th ranked Belgian, David Goffin. Thiem has consistently demonstarted that he can compete well on all surfaces. At 6 ft 1, Thiem has the requisite height to deliver a penetrating serve while remaining adequately nimble to reach low slices.

Dominic Thiem began his grand slam journey at the 2014 Australian Open where he survived the qualies and drew and defeated Joa Sousa in 4 sets in the first round making this victory his first in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. In the following round, he lost in straight sets to Kevin Anderson of South Africa, the 19th seed.

In March, Thiem qualified for the main draw in his first Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells. In the second round he upset former world #6 and the 21st seed, Giles Simon in straight sets. The following week at the Sony Ericson Open, he qualified once agian for the main draw where he defeated the hard hitting Czech, Lukas Rosol who stunned Rafa Nadal in the first round of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.

Dominic Thiem’s victory illustrates his ability to handle and neutralize power just as his victory over Simon demonstrates his willingness to strategically vary his shot selection. A righty with a huge serve, penetrating forehand and lethal one-handed backhand, Thiem has the tools to excel provided he remains healthy and focused. Too often, rising stars burn out, overwhelmed by success, intense glare of the media and expectation.

Spain would be the site of his greatest win to date. At the Mutua Madrid Open, Thiem won three qualifying rounds to earn a first round main draw match with former top twenty player Dmitry Tursunov, defeating him in straigh sets. Awaiting Thiem in the second round was the reigning Australian Open champion and then world number three, Stan Wawrinka. Thiem took out the powerful Swiss in three sets demonstrating that on clay, he posesses the requisite physical stamina and patience to compete with the top players.

His record on grass may at first glance appear negligible but upon closer examination, potential emerges. At the Wimbledon tuneup in London, Thiem once again lost to the talented Belgian, David Goffin, while at the All England Club, he suffered a consecutive first round loss to a qualifier but did not go down easily, losing in four tight sets.

Having just turned 21 last month, Thiem has the time to adapt his game to the lush lawns of the All England Club and in 2015 will have additional time to do so for an extra week has been added to the calendar separating the conclusion of the clay court season from the commencement of the grass court season.

In August, Thiem competed in his first US Open defeating Ernest Gulbis, the 11th seed and the lefty, Feliciano Lopez, the 19th seed on his way to reaching the 4th round before losing to Tomas Berdych, the 6th seed. Following his impressive play at the Open, Thiem reached a career high ranking of 36. His dramatic run at the Open, while spectacular, was for most, unforeseen. I predicted a fruitful career for the young Austrian after reading about him last year and watching him compete on clay this past spring.

On October 8, 2014 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Thiem drew Djokovic in the second round. Novak would win in straights, defeating Thiem 6-3, 6-4 in 88 minutes but even the world number one had to shower praise upon the young upstart. Novak noted Thiem’s huge serve and impressive shot making, especially his potent and exquisite one handed backhand down the line.

His nickname the “dominator” seems prescient for he has swiftly climbed the rankings and made an indelible impression on the ATP tour,the media and me.

Make no mistake—Thiem’s time has come and in the very near future he will dominant on all surfaces and consistently contend for grand slam titles.

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