Dominic Thiem is in tip-top condition when it comes to fitness and needs about “25 high level matches to get back to the top”, according to his fitness coach Jez Green.
2020 US Open champion Thiem injured his wrist in June last year and was forced to miss Wimbledon and the US Open. After initially setting his sights on a return at this year’s Australian Open, he suffered a setback and was forced to miss the season-opening Grand Slam.
The Austrian eventually made his return in March at an ATP Challenger Tour event before stepping up to the ATP Tour. However, there were several early defeats and frustration, but he has started to make progress in recent months as he reached the semi-final of the Swiss Open and last week’s Gijon Open.
Tennis conditioner Green, who has worked with Andy Murray in the past and has also joined Emma Raducanu’s camp, explained how they have started putting “science” into the 29-year-old’s fitness regime.
In an interview with Tennishead.net, Green wrote: “He’s had a very funny history with fitness, he’s never really done a structured fitness program because he worked with a coach who was a bit old school and did everything on the court. We’ve changed that. We’ve put science into his fitness program, which he hasn’t really done before.
“It has been a long road back for him from injury, but we completely trust the process. He ruptured his wrist twice within a few months, the first of which came in June last year. He got playing again very slowly, by September, October time, and transitioned softballs for a month or so.
“That’s when we were doing a lot of fitness, September, October, November, and by December, he was hitting pretty much full. He went to Dubai, and he made fairly good progress over there, but then he really wasn’t going to make it to Australia.
“We had the idea of getting him to Indian Wells and Miami, so we kept him on hard in January and February which was pretty good, but he had a little bit of discomfort, a little bit of pain in the wrist. So we shelved Miami, and then that’s when we got on the clay. We were on the clay from March, April all the way through to now.”
After slumping to outside the top 300 in the ATP Rankings following several months on the sidelines, Thiem has climbed back up to No 132 while he could jump up a few more spots as he is in second-round action at the European Open in Antwerp later on Thursday.
Since his first-round exit from the US Open, Thiem has played five matches on the Challenger Tour and nine ATP encounters.
“His body, because he’s done so much fitness over the last five months, is really good. The only thing he’s missing is matches, but he’s getting those now,” Green continued.
“His actual fitness and his body was conditioned and pretty much ready to go by Miami in May time, it’s just that the shots weren’t there. There was no pain in the wrist since about February.
“I think we’ll start seeing the real, full-on, vintage Dominic Thiem soon. He now needs to play matches and now needs 25 high level matches to get back to the top and I think he’s ready for it.”
With only a handful of events left in the 2022 season, he is essentially starting to build for the 2023 campaign and Green believes a fully fit Thiem is bad news for the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
“You have to think still that a full power Dominic on clay makes the French Open his number one possibility, but I think all of the Slams are possible,” he said.
“He’s very fresh and has very good motivation. He can have five more years left in tennis, so he has very good possibilities. Make no mistake, Novak and Rafa are not going to want to see a fully fit Dominic Thiem back!”
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