Do­minic Thiem (Aus­tria)

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Sport -

With his sin­gle­handed backhand, Aus­tria’s Do­minic Thiem boasts one of the best shots in men’s ten­nis, and an­other im­pres­sive clay court sea­son saw him emerge as the only per­son to beat Nadal on his beloved red dust this year. En route to the French Open semi­fi­nals for a sec­ond straight year, Thiem de­stroyed Djokovic, win­ning the third set 6-0 in 20 min­utes, to fur­ther un­der­line his grow­ing stature in the game. Ques­tions re­main, how­ever, as to whether the clay court

spe­cial­ist, who of­ten stands deep be­hind the base­line to re­ceive serve, can adapt to the slick lawns at SW19, where he has never gone past the sec­ond round.

Age 23, ranked 8

most ex­traor­di­nary up­sets in the tour­na­ment’s mod­ern his­tory. Since then, how­ever, his progress seems to have stut­tered amid crit­i­cism of his at­ti­tude, be­hav­iour and com­mit­ment. He faced ac­cu­sa­tions of tank­ing at Wim­ble­don in 2015 in a fourth round loss to Richard Gas­quet, while his de­feat to Andy Murray 12 months ago prompted John McEn­roe to crit­i­cise his tem­per­a­ment.

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