Dominic Thiem is a name tennis fans have been familiar with for a few years now, and he became one of the games' brightest young prospects based on his success early in 2014. He's still just 21, but a somewhat poor end to 2014 and beginning to 2015 saw Thiem get passed in the hype machine by even younger and supposedly brighter prospects (i.e. Coric, Kyrgios, Zverev, etc). It's too soon to tell which of these prospects will become the best player, but it's now clear Thiem is back in good form and ready to make a run towards challenging the elite. He just won back to back 250 level tournaments, and it won't be long before he sets his sights on bigger prizes.
Winning 250 level tournaments and challenging for Masters and grand slam titles are clearly two different ball games, but Thiem doesn't seem like the type of player who will top out at the 250s. Regardless of the level of the tournament it's important that Thiem is learning how to win titles, as these experiences should help him in bigger stages. It's clear Thiem is an ultra-talented player, but lots of players struggle to turn their talent into victories. The fact that Thiem already has 3 titles at age 21 is a promising sign, as it shows he's got substance to go with his talent. No young player bursts onto the scene anymore and starts competing for major titles, and Thiem seems to be poised to work his way to the top one level at a time.
With a powerful baseline game that resembles Stan Wawrinka, Thiem appears to have all the tools required to be successful in today's game. He hit's heavy and powerful shots off both wings, and possesses an extremely deadly one-handed backhand. He's got a good serve, moves well and also has good hands. Seeing Wawrinka have so much success has to give Thiem confidence, as he sees how much trouble his style of play can give the best players in the world.
Realistically, Thiem probably isn't going to start winning Masters and Grand Slams within the next year or two, but there's no reason he shouldn't make a run at the top 10. He's already in the top 25, and a lot of players ahead of him are getting up there in age and seem very vulnerable to getting passed by Thiem. By the time he's 23 or 24 much of the current top 10 will likely be winding down their careers, and there's no reason Thiem can't make the jump to becoming one of the top players in the world.
Tennis has been in great hands for the last decade, but it's about time there are some fresh faces playing in the semis and finals of the biggest tournaments. There's no shortage of young talent at the moment, but Thiem once again has to be considered one of the more likely prospects to excel over the next decade. Everything seems to be setting up nicely for him, and we shouldn't be surprised if Thiem is at the forefront of the "next generation" when the Big Four's run finally comes to an end.
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