Dominic Thiem Puzzled By Recent Illness As Ex-Manager Urges Him To Hire A Supercoach - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Puzzled By Recent Illness As Ex-Manager Urges Him To Hire A Supercoach

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

Dominic Thiem has stated that he is fully fit once again after being unable to train for two weeks following his US Open run. 

The former world No.3 began his campaign in New York by knocking out 25th seed Alexander Bublik in straight sets. However, two days later he was forced to retire from his second round clash against Ben Shelton due to stomach issues. It was the first time he had failed to complete a tour-level match since June 2021. 

As to what the issue Thiem was struggling with in New York, the tennis star said it wasn’t bacteria-related but the exact cause of the problem remains a mystery. 

“It was a long story with my stomach. After the US Open, I couldn’t do anything for two weeks before I could start training again. But now I’m fine again.” Thiem told reporters during his pre-tournament press conference at the Vienna Open. 
“All I know is that it wasn’t bacteria. Maybe I got some bad water or food somewhere. I love spicy food, maybe I had too much of it.”

Since overcoming his stomach problem, Thiem has won four out of seven matches contested across two ATP Tour events and one Challenger Tournament. At the European Open in Antwerp, he reached the second round before falling to fifth seed Yannick Hanfmann in three sets.

The next test for Thiem will be on home territory at the Vienna Open which is an event he won in 2019. He has been given a brutal first round draw against Stefanos Tsitsipas who is currently ranked 79 places higher than him at seventh in the world. It will be their third meeting this season and 11th overall. Their head-to-head is currently tied at 5-5. 

“He’s the favorite for sure, but if I bring my performance to the court, I’m sure I’ll have chances. The last duels were all very close and were only decided in the tiebreak of the last set. Especially indoors, often only a few points decide.” He said. 

Herwig Straka weighs in 

This year’s Vienna Open is taking place under the close eye of tournament director Herwig Straka whom Thiem is very familiar with. He is one of four tournament representatives currently serving on the ATP’s Board of Directors and was Thiem’s manager between 2019-2021. 

Speaking about the Austrian’s current form on the tour, Straka believes he would benefit from hiring a supercoach for his team. Using Holger Rune’s recent appointment of Boris Becker to his team as an example. 

“In general. I believe that a super coach is good for every player and certainly for him too. Especially in a situation like this,”  Straka told the APA.
“Rune is the best example, he hasn’t won much for six months. These are exactly the situations where you need a super coach and in this respect, I think a super coach would be good for Dominic too.”

Thiem has in the past previously worked with former world No.1 Thomas Muster but their collaboration didn’t last very long. The majority of his success was achieved alongside former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu who coached him for more than four years (2019-2023). 

“The pattern didn’t work, but you have to accept that,” admits Straka, who helped form the collaboration with Muster. “I spoke to Boris (Becker) on the phone. I said I wish you good luck, but I hope that Rune also accepts you, because I saw that with Dominic. If you don’t accept it, then it will bring nothing.”

Thiem is currently being guided on the Tour by Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh who has previously worked with the likes of Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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