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Dominic Thiem is making his fifth straight appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Thiem: 'Maybe I'm Even More Comfortable On A Hard Court'

Austrian reflects on his recent hard-court success

Early in his career, Dominic Thiem was known for his clay-court prowess. But lately, the World No. 3 has excelled on hard courts.

The Austrian star has earned some of his biggest wins on hard courts, from claiming his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at last year’s BNP Paribas Open to lifting his first Grand Slam trophy two months ago at the US Open. Thiem will try to add another hard-court jewel to his collection next week at the Nitto ATP Finals.

“Maybe sometimes [I am] even more comfortable on a hard court. I guess the results from late 2019 until today, they were even better on hard courts,” Thiem said. “It suits most parts of my game even better than the clay court.”

On clay, Thiem claimed his first four ATP Tour titles, reached his first two ATP Masters 1000 finals and advanced to his first two Grand Slam finals (2018-19 Roland Garros). When in top form, the 27-year-old’s powerful groundstrokes, which are typically laced with an abundance of topspin, have proved overwhelming even on the quickest surfaces even with less time for him to swing.

Photos: Ella Ling/ATP Tour

During the ATP Tour’s suspension due to COVID-19, which lasted more than five months, the Austrian mostly practised on clay. But he was excited to switch surfaces.

“When it was set that the US Open was going to happen, I was super happy to be back on hard courts,” Thiem said. “Same after the French Open again. Now I almost feel the same on both surfaces.”

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Thiem will need that confidence at The O2 in London, where he will face the best players in the world. He is in Group London 2020, which also features World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, reigning champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and first-time Nitto ATP Finals competitor Andrey Rublev.

“In most of the other tournaments you at least have a little bit of time to get in shape, to get used to the conditions [and] everything. But here it starts 100 per cent from the first point,” Thiem said. “It’s only matches between Top 10 players. This year all eight players are in good form, everybody is healthy as well because the season was not too long.

“I think it only depends on the day this year. The guy who has the better day is going to win and the guy who has the most good days is going to end up winning the tournament. The only thing I’m going to try to do is to be there 100 per cent and to be there completely ready on Sunday afternoon [for my first match].”

Thiem’s first match is against Tsitsipas in a rematch of last year’s championship match at The O2. The Greek star emerged victorious in a final-set tie-break. This will be their first clash since. Thiem leads their ATP Head2Head series 4-3.

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