Federer, Thiem to Practice Together in Preparation for Monte Carlo

Just a quick update about something interesting that has nothing to do with Miami. As you can see Roger invited Dominic Thiem, who I have raved about and called the real ‘baby Fed’ of late, for a practice camp on clay leading up to Monte Carlo. I also posted a video of them practicing at Wimbledon a couple of posts ago so this won’t be the first time. It seems Roger has taken a liking to the kid which is not surprising to me. He is very respectful and hard working like Roger himself. They both have great attitudes toward the game. Thiem is also a player who hits with loads of top spin which makes him a good player to train with on clay for Roger who have historically struggled with Nadal’s huge topspin.

From Thiem’s viewpoint he is skipping the tournament he would have played in Casablanca to train with the GOAT. That shows you he has his priorities right. Even though there is points and prize money available in Casablanca it is clearly better in the long run to go on a training camp with the GOAT. The experience and advice Thiem will get from the training camp is invaluable. Who knows when Roger retires he may even coach Thiem. I wonder how Dimitrov feels about this development. He would probably give up Sharapova to have a one week training camp with the GOAT, which in itself would be the greatest thing he could do for his tennis. But Thiem is showing more promise and like I said his top spin shots makes him a better candidate for the clay.

The three(sportsmanship) musketeers 

I am already looking very much forward to see how Roger and Dominic both fare in Monte Carlo, but of course today is the final in Miami. And as expected it will be another Djokoray final. It is not the most exciting match up in the world but I enjoyed the Australian Open final and I’m looking forward to the Miami final too. Djokovic has won their last six meetings so of course he is the favorite, but you can’t underestimate Murray who has beaten Djokovic in two slam finals. But first back to the semis where Djokovic schooled Isner 7-6(3), 6-2. The first set was close as the scoreline suggests but then Djokovic was basically toying with Isner in the second set. Isner was playing at a very high level in the first set but once Djokovic weathered the storm Isner couldn’t keep that level up.

Djokovic is still the best player in the world by quite a margin and should he win the title today against Murray he will have reached another big milestone by winning a record third Indian Wells/Miami double. He is already the best slow hard court player in history as far as I’m concerned but that would really lock it up. This week he has once again shown how unplayable he is on slow hard with the victories over Klizan, Dolgopolov, and Isner. Isner himself defeated a whole generation of top players in Dimitrov, Raonic, and Nishikori, but couldn’t take a set off Djokovic. Murray is a better player than anyone Djokovic faced so far but the level Dolgopolov and Isner showed may be better than anything Murray is capable of.

 Ps. I forgot to mention that Djokovic out aced Isner 10-9 which is extraordinary in itself. Djokovic’s serve is much improved and is now a serious weapon. As if he wasn’t already good enough.

Highlights:

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25 Comments

  1. Federer has invited Krygios before. Goffin as well. And he has hit quite a few times with Dimitrov. Looks like he wants to be a mentor to all the young guns out there !!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right but Dimugtrov is beyond mentoring it seems. As far as becoming a really top player. So is Goffin.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah the most important thing for any young player is mentality. Federer had it, taking out Sampras at WB in 2001 at just 19, Rafa had it taking out Fed in Miami in 2004, and Novak had it winning the 2008 AO beating Fed. Even Murray, beating Fed in Cincy (2006?). Anyone who can score a big win in a significant tournament at a young age, without succumbing to the pressure has a bright future.

    Dimitrov seems to be another of these young players who has let a few early successes get to his head, and is now enjoying the life of the rich and famous but is doing very little to improve his tennis. I mean when Fedalovicray were his age, they were training hard, practicing with top players whenever possible, working on their fitness and always recognising that there is room for improvement. Dimitrov on the other hand seems to be satisfied with a top 10/20 career, but doesn’t have the drive required to be a great champion.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha Fedalovicray. I like that one and it is also in order of best to worst. For now anyway. Thiem hasn’t scored a win over a big 4 yet but hasn’t played vs Fedal. He already showed he is pretty close to Murray though with two three set losses, and he put in a solid showing vs Djokovic in Shanghai. It’s just a question of time before he becomes a serious threat to the big 4, given his attitude.

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    Florian Reply:

    Hey Ru-an!
    I also think that Thiem has a bright future ahead.
    Federer is the only big one he hasn’t played before. He lost to Nadal last year at Roland Garros. But he beat Wawrinka in Madrid right after his win over Fed in the MC final. Stan was number 3 then and although Wawrinka is known for his ups and downs I would rate this win as big one.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ah so he did play Nadal before. Glad you corrected me. And as expected soundly beaten at the event Nadal has only ever lost at once before.

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    Ajay Reply:

    Dimitrov at some point definitely will come good. Right now it doesn’t seem like happening though. Goffin is too small and short to make really big I think. Thiem has got everything to make it big but he really needs a consistent backhand to take down the big guys. Lets see how it goes !!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    What do you mean by come good though? As for Thiem his bh is just fine.

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    Ajay Reply:

    Come through meaning once the Big 4 fade I think Dimitrov will be ready to take up the mantle. I know right now it doesn’t look likely but he is by far the most talented of the lot and it might just take something as simple as a change of coach to get him to his best.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That’s a pretty optimistic view about someone who will soon be caught by the generation behind him. He could become another Verdasco too. At the moment his heart is not in it. Guys like Kyrgios, Coric, and Thiem will soon catch up with him and start beating his ass if he doesn’t become more committed. All these guys have great attitudes and have the talent to take up the mantle from the big four. Include Zverev or Rublev and you are already looking at a big four to take up the mantle from the current big four. How does one guy take up the mantle from the big four anyway? I think that is disrespectful toward the current big four. Not to mention that Dimugtrov is the last young guy who currently looks like doing it.

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    Ajay Reply:

    Yeah its true I phrased my sentence badly. But let me put it this way. By around 2018 I think all of Big 4 would have passed their peak. Raonic, Dimitrov and Nishikori will actually be the guys at the prime age, around 26-27. I think among those three if each of them were to hypothetically work their asses off, Dimitrov is the one most likely to win more Slams. As for the next generation of Krygios, Kokanaikis, Zverev, Thiem and Coric I think we are underestimating the role of their age. Being in the quarters of a Slam and winning it are two completely different things. I doubt they are going to be winning Slams before they turn 25-26 meaning there is good window of about 2-3 years for atleast one of Raonic, Dimitrov and Nishikori (or all three) to seriously dominate. Once again I know it looks unlikely now but stranger things have happened.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well there is no reason for me to take Dimugtrov seriously at present, so I won’t. I will only change my mind once he does something of note in my opinion. Until then Kei, Raonic, Kyrgios, Coric, and Thiem are all more promising. Talent doesn’t mean shit if your attitude is shit. I think Fedal is on their way out. They are past peak anyway. Djokovic and Murray can be at the top for some time still. Raonic and Kei are starting to knock hard on the door already. Kyrgios already has a win over Nadal at a slam. His ascent to the top won’t take long and he will probably be #1 at some point. Coric is not wasting much time either. Already he has wins over Nadal and Murray. And Thiem is primed to make another big move this year too. That doesn’t leave Dimugtrov with much time, and he is losing to mugs left and right at this stage. I can actually see him falling out of the top 20 soon.

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    Ajay Reply:

    I totally get what you are saying but I just think all he needs is a change of coach right now. Bring in someone who preaches tennis not just fitness. Someone like Annacone. And he should be fine. I am going to go with Dimitrov. What I want to point it which is 100% true is that it is taking players much longer to mature nowadays. Tomic reached the Wimbledon quarters in 2011 has done nothing much since then. Janowicz reached the Wimbledon semis in 2013 and he has been woeful since then. And I think with Krygios’s hit and miss game its easy to see him not doing much until his game becomes a lot more steady. Coric though is one who I would keep an eye on. These days clearly the more defensive players have an advantage and among those we mentioned above Coric has easily the most steady game.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    This is a more balanced comment I thought. I agree that Dimitrov should change coaching staff(did you hear that from me?). But I’m not sure Annacone is the way to go. He has already copied Fed in every way imaginable. He needs to become his own man if he wants to really make progress. And ditch Sharapova while he is at it. Then there is a chance.

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    Ru-an Reply:

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  2. Hi Ru-an! Like your new post, excellent…good news about Roger inviting the youngster, Dominic Thiem, to visit his camp in Zuerich for practice sessions. Exiting times in tennis are ahead, looking forward to Monaco.
    Love the picture of “The three (sportsmanship) musketeers” you posted on your blog.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Dolores. Always nice to hear from you. I hope you are well. Yes exciting times ahead!

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  3. Hey guys, what’s up?? Happy Easter. Finally, today Miami will be over. And that is not a “dig” because Roger is not in it, but because…. I don’t know….. not many good matches to see. Not even with the girls. I am very surprised that Mannarino is doing so good. Did not know that of him. Kudos to Novak for winning the matches against Ferrer and Isner. He really was playing great. Kudos to Isner for beating Nishikori. He totally outplayed Nishi, but when Isner walked to the net to shake hands with Nishi, I just knew he couldn’t keep THIS level up against Novak. And he didn’t, but ofcourse, credit where credit is due, Novak played amazing.
    The reason I say that finally Miami will be over is that…… it seems to take so long?? I mean, do you guys remember that Delpo played?? Do you even remember that Stan also played?? And why does it seem so long that Rafa is out??
    Indian Wells was more excited somehow. NOT because of Roger !!!, but the matches were more exciting. My God, even the one of the girls !!!
    I think today Andy will either push Novak to the limit, or he will lose even more badly than in IW.
    I read a great comment: “If Novak is tired, Andy will lose, if Novak is not tired, Novak will win” :-)

    And Ru-an, I agree with you on Thiem, but…. I haven’t given up on Nishi or Goffin yet. And Raonic really impressed me at IW.
    But isn’t Thiem’s playing style more like Stan the Man??

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  4. Oh and Ru-an and guys, some of you left really sweet comments for me. Thank you for that. I am just so busy with learning, but I am trying to keep up. Although Ru-an is not making it easy with what seems like a new post every day :-) So I am still reading all and will comment later. Next week Goat time :-)

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  5. Thiem is an interesting prospect, would be good to see him go far in the next few years.

    Meanwhile, Djokovic plays arguably the worst set of tennis he’s played all week in Miami, yet still wins it 7-6. Murray may have developed a bit of a mental block I suppose.

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  6. Murray has lost a bagel set in each of his last three matches against Djokovic and Federer. These days whenever the match crosses the 150 minute mark his legs seem to get really heavy. Really sad to see someone like Murray struggle so much for fitness which was once his forte !!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah well he does weigh 84 kg which is not exactly light for a tennis player. He plays too defensively for a player of his weight and ability. He needs to be more aggressive and shorten points.

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    Ajay Reply:

    I think he is trying to be more aggressive but his biggest problem vs someone like Djokovic is just that he is not as consistent. Where Novak will back his defense to hold him steady at any point of time Murray always presses the panic button faster. And his serve lets him down big time at all the important point. Murray just needs to toughen up both mentally and physically soon if he is to beat Novak anytime soon. Andy vs Roger in clay would be a pretty interesting match though as believe it or not they have never played on clay before !!

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  7. Right now in both the men’s and women’s game there is absolute domination at the top. Novak has won the last three Masters Tournaments as well as the last Grand Slam and the last WTF. And Serena. Well Serena has just continued to be Serena. What do you think, is this good or bad for tennis ?

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  8. Pingback: Djokovic Wins 5th Miami Title to Do Record 3rd Indian Wells/Miami Double | Ultimate Tennis

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