We all know that Dominic Thiem is a clay-court specialist, and given the irreversible style and technique of his game-play, he fares the worst on grass. The big and loopy swings, in particularly, simply do not give him enough time in general to handle the fast and low balls of Wimbledon adequately well enough. Do we think Thiem would be doomed to a career-long record of mediocre performance in Wimbledon though? Absolutely not? When one thinks of how Nadal managed to win 2 Wimbledon grand-slams, while reaching the finals of 3 other Wimbledon finals, despite his technical difficulties which are pretty much the same as Thiem's, the assumption that Thiem will never perform well in Wimbledon just does not make sense.
What do we think Thiem should adjust in his game to allow him greater performance?
It all boils down to one simple, but critical. aspect of his game on grass - where he generally stands relative to the baseline. While Thiem stands at least some distance from the baseline in the Australian and American Opens, and further back for French Open, he very much hugs the baseline throughout his matches at Wimbledon. This tactical flaw is disadvantageous to Thiem on two main counts:
His loopy and relatively long ground-strokes already naturally put him at a disadvantage when competing on a grass court. By limiting further an already more-than-usual limited space of time for him to hit an ideally carried-out stroke, or even a properly carried-out stroke, he increases his chances of producing the short balls that all (or most) tennis players seek to avoid, and perhaps shanks.
A huge part of Thiem's game involves him hitting powerful winners from the baseline. Thiem usually does so however, when he has more than enough time to get into a position ideal for such winners. By standing so close to the baseline, he takes way his chances of producing such winners crucial to his game.
Nadal, by comparison is different in this aspect...
Nadal on the contrary, generally leaves a visibly significant amount of space between himself and the baseline, to give him the edges which Thiem denied himself.
People may argue that Nadal has suffered at Wimbledon consistently from the year of 2012 (6 years it has been!) But such suffering is mainly due to the increase in his bulkiness, which has had a negative impact on the dexterity crucial for the quick split-second reactions on grass.
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