EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s up to Thiem to find his motivation’ claims Barbara Schett
Barbara Schett can empathise with Dominic Thiem and his struggles on tour this year, but says that he has the capability to find the motivation to recover, the former world No. 7 claimed in this exclusive interview with Tennishead.
Dominic Thiem achieved a career dream by securing a maiden Grand Slam title at last year’s US Open, defeating Alexander Zverev in the final after coming back from two sets to love down.
Many tennis followers assumed that Thiem would only go from strength to strength following such a triumph, but the Austrian has since stumbled to a lacklustre set of results in 2021.
With the French Open just around the corner, the 2018 and 2019 runner-up will no doubt be looking to turn around his form in Paris on what many consider to be his best surface, clay.
However, former top-10 pro and fellow Austrian Barbara Schett understands why 2021 has been so tough for Thiem so far.
“I think last year when he won the US Open his biggest dream came true and the dream came true for what he has worked for his whole career,” Eurosport expert Schett told us.
“That was the ultimate thing for him to win a Grand Slam and also I think the Covid situation, travelling to tournaments and being in bubbles doesn’t really suit him.
“He’s really struggling and he’s tired. I can somehow relate to him because I had something like that in my career. My biggest goal was to become the best Austrian player, so top 10, and when I achieved that, and I think with Dominic as well, you’re just relieved and you have to set another goal, another big goal and find ways to achieve that again.
“I think he was just exhausted and tired. He’s the kind of player [where] he’s been working so hard and if you talk to other players he’s one of the players who works the hardest and spends the most time doing fitness.
“I think maybe now it’s time to change a few things just to get that motivation back and that drive to win another Grand Slam.”
Following an early exit at the Dubai Tennis Championships in the middle of March, Dominic Thiem took 7 weeks out to prepare for the clay season, returning at the Madrid Masters.
Thiem started strongly, defeating Marcos Giron, Alex De Minaur and John Isner to reach the semi-finals before falling to eventual champion Zverev.
Unfortunately from there, Thiem then lost in the third round of the Rome Masters to eventual semi-finalist Lorenzo Sonego, before exiting in his first match in Lyon to eventual finalist Cameron Norrie.
“That’s why you look at Rafa [Nadal] and Roger [Federer] and Novak [Djokovic] and other players who have won several Slams and it’s like wow how do you keep on motivating yourself,” Schett continued.
“Why do you not just say ‘I have achieved it now’ but no they find a way to always want more and get more. That’s where Dominic has to find himself and what he needs to do to be able to push himself to even bigger success. It’s been a rough year for him.
“He has to find this motivation and that’s up to him. There can be a great team around him and as many people as he wants to have but he’s the one who has to play on the court.
“I think he’s motivated but he’s just tired. Tired of the Covid situation and the bubble. It’s getting better now but it’s certainly not a lot of fun and some players deal with it better than others. For Dominic he hasn’t enjoyed it at all.”
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