One of the stories of the year has been the rapid rise of Austrian young gun Dominic Thiem, who is currently ranked seventh in the world after starting the year at 20th. Will he be able to continue this extraordinary progression at the All England Club?
Notable results to date
It has been an incredible year for Thiem so far, and by far the highlight was his first Grand Slam semifinal at the French Open, where he beat David Goffin in the last eight before losing to Novak Djokovic, in a run which saw him crack the top 10.
The Austrian also had an impressive three titles coming into the grass court season. Two titles on clay, arguably his strongest surface, came in Buenos Aires, where he saved match points against Rafael Nadal on the way to the final, and in Nice, where he beat his good friend Alexander Zverev. His biggest title of the year, and of his career so far, came on the hard courts on Acapulco back in February, where he beat Bernard Tomic in the final, and there is no doubt that this has been a breakthrough year for him.
Thiem has an impressive 47-12 win/loss rate for the year, picking up some wins in Rome, Indian Wells and Miami, though has also had some uncharacteristic losses. It will be interesting to see how he tries to avoid any losses at SW19.
Best grass results leading to Wimbledon
Thiem started his grass court season in Stuttgart, just a few days after his semifinal loss in Paris. The Austrian started with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Sam Groth, before recording his first ever top-80 win on grass, coming from a set down to beat Mikhail Youzhny. Coming from a set down would become a common theme, as he did that to beat Roger Federer in the semifinal, saving two match points, and to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final, recording a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 win for his seventh, and arguably most surprising, career title.
The world number seven quickly moved to Halle, where he started with good straight set wins over Joao Sousa and Teymuraz Gabashvili. Thiem received a walkover in the quarterfinals and then put in a poor performance as he lost in straight sets to eventual champion Florian Mayer.
Despite the loss in Halle, it has been an extremely encouraging two weeks for Thiem, who had only won two of his eight previous grass court matches. Before heading to Wimbledon, he is heading to Mallorca to take part in an exhibition.
Best result at Wimbledon
Thiem has never played well at Wimbledon in the past, with his best a second round performance last year.
Whilst his previous showings at Wimbledon aren’t too encouraging, Thiem has improved massively since then, and should progress further this year.
How Thiem’s game translates to the surface
Thiem has never thrived on the surface on the past, though the main reason for his sudden success on the surface this year is his improved game.
Being extremely powerful is undoubtedly an advantage on grass, and Thiem has been able to improve the use of his power, and how he controls it, over the past few months, leading to his success in 2016; it should also help him on the lawns of Wimbledon.
Furthermore, the Austrian has improved his serve massively over the past year. If this is firing, Thiem will be able to use this to dictate play from the very beginning of the point.