Working on my state of mind, says Dominic Thiem
CHENNAI: For word No. 3 Dominic Thiem , the emergency shutdown has come at a bad time. He had just played the final of the Australian Open, where he raced near Novak Djokovic and was waiting for the clay swing, where the Austrian is considered one of the best after two consecutive attempts at the French Open final. But all of that is in the air now; and Thiem, who is a Red Bull athlete, is taking it easy, saying it is the same for everyone.
During an interview with TOI, he discussed his plans for a comeback and how he is preparing for the season, when it restarts.
How difficult has it been for you to keep your training schedule going during emergency shutdown ?
I'm fine of course the situation is something completely new. But I am trying to make the most of it. I stay motivated every day with goals that still lie ahead. I also try to remember the most beautiful and best experiences I have had in the tennis court , the most recent incredible being at the Australian Open not too long ago. I motivate myself with these and that gives me the motivation to train at 100 percent every day.
Is there a specific area of your game that you've worked on during this phase that makes you an even more lethal player?
I think mental fitness is extremely important, especially in Grand Slams and in best-of-five-set long-lasting matches. Therefore, I am working on my mental state during my regular training. If I can achieve my training performance for up to four hours, it will also be easier to use my strengths during the match. The physical aspect is also very important because if I know that I am going to a match in top shape and I can run for four or five hours without any problem, I am also mentally at a higher level!
How difficult will it be to come back from this emergency shutdown phase for you and most tennis players in general?
Of course it's difficult, it will have a massive impact on my remaining season, but that's the same for everyone on tour. It means that everyone will have to adapt. We will have to wait and see when it starts again. Then I will work with my team on how we can prepare optimally and plan the rest of the season.
How do you stay mentally charged when there is no sport and when you are probably at the top of your game?
I’ve played so much tennis in my life that keeping my form isn’t difficult for me. From the moment I can start training with the ball , the feeling will come back very quickly. There is now such a long break until the next tournament that there will be enough time to get back into top form.
Players often interact on online media like Instagram. Have you been talking to any of your friends/rivals on tour during this phase or are you just saving yourself?
My daily routine is quite spectacular at the moment. I sleep relatively late every day. Then it is time to do physical exercise: torso, abs, back, upper body, legs, as much as possible to do at home. After that I try to go running every day too. Most of the time I have finished everything relatively early, around 5 or 6 in the afternoon. Then she's on the couch, watching TV, making calls, and playing on PlayStation with friends.
The way you started this year, it seemed that this will be your breakout year where you will take over the tennis world. Do you feel this break will hurt you more because you seemed to be at the top of your game?
I see this break more as a relaxation. Recovery and disconnection are as important as the training itself. And of course going home is extremely important to me. This is where I recover the fastest, especially mentally.