Not learning from mistakes, Thiem making a similar 2017 schedule

Dominic Thiem played 27 tournaments in 2016. No other man who finished in the top 10 suited up for more than 21. Thiem played 82 matches in 2016. By comparison, Andy Murray contested only five more matches than the Austrian even though the top-ranked Scot reached the final of just about every event he played starting in July.

Clearly exhausted throughout the second half of the season, Thiem went 11-13 in his last 24 matches. He had compiled an awesome 47-11 record in his first 58 outings, a stretch that saw him capture all four of his 2016 titles. Despite those numbers that make it obvious he should play less in 2017, Thiem may not learn from his mistakes.

“If I would have played less, I wouldn’t be here at the (World Tour) Finals,” Thiem said at one of his London press conferences. “This was one of the reasons why I’m here, because I was playing a lot…. Maybe I will play a little less (in 2017), but also maybe not.”

Based on the 23-year-old’s early-season schedule, it’s looking like not. Nothing about his January-February-March list suggests he will cut down on his tennis in 2017. Thiem will play the opening week in Brisbane (and even playing doubles, too, with Kei Nishikori) before getting in a second Australian Open warm-up event at Sydney’s Apia International. The year’s first Grand Slam is immediately thereafter. Thiem’s first three months also include Sofia, Rotterdam, Acapulco, Indian Wells, and Miami.

Week 1 – Brisbane International starting 1/3/17
Week 2 – Apia International starting 1/11/17
Week 3/4 – Australian Open starting 1/18/17
Week 5 – Sofia Open starting 2/1/17
Week 6 – ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament starting 2/8/17
Week 7 – No tournament
Week 8 – Mexican Open starting 2/22/17
Week 10 – No tournament (not playing Davis Cup)
Week 11/12 – Indian Wells Masters starting 3/10/17
Week 12/13 – Miami Masters starting 3/23/17

11 Comments on Not learning from mistakes, Thiem making a similar 2017 schedule

    • I like that he’s skipping Davis Cup. It seems like a slight improvement. Surely he learned something about how much is too much. But he did make WTF despite how faded he was at season end so…

  1. I’m guessing he wants to try and defend points from this year’s early success. He shouldn’t play in Sofia or Sydney in my opinion. That would give him a few more weeks off sprinkled into the start of his season and he isn’t defending anything at those events either plus they’re ATP 250 events. Only thing positive about playing those tournies is he would probably be one of the favorites if not the favorite at both Sofia and Sydney and could gain some more confidence if he won them I guess. Still he also shouldn’t play Sofia and Sydney because he needs to be ready for the second half because he can gain major points there as he’s defending nothing important after Roland Garros. Another thing is if he skips Sydney he can get to Melbourne earlier and be more physically prepared for the Aussie Open where he should focus on trying to make a run (or at least defend his points) and not tire himself out and possibly make an early exit because of it.

  2. The recovery rate of a 23 year old in good condition is enough to make this an ok decision. The mental burnout will occur unfortunately and it will coincide with that same hardcourt swing where Thiem dropped so hard last time. I don’t think his hardcourt game is impressive enough for him not to take some time off during the later swing and work on his game rather than pick up a few extra checks but not make strides in his progress. He will likely end up in the top 10 again because of his claycourt and grasscourt prowess but to make improvements to his ranking going forward he needs to improve his serve and play more aggressively on hardcourt … that won’t happen through excessive matchplay

  3. That schedule is not that bad. Assuming he won’t get to the 2nd week of the Aussie Open he’s gonna have a week off there and if he does I think he will skip Sofia. And since Rotterdam it is just normal schedule for a top player.

    I’m gonna make a really bold predicition here and say this year Thiem plays much worse than last year, barely holds in top 20 and definitely does not make the World Tour Finals. I might be horribly wrong here, I’ve seen a lot of guys predicting that his first Masters 1000 title or even a GS final happens this year, but I just don’t feel it.

  4. I think Thiem has to find the truth balance with his schedule. He front loaded so many tournaments last year in the first half of the tennis year and then collapsed in the second half.

    Maybe he has to avoid the smaller 250 tourneys in favor of focusing on the Masters and slams.

    Mental burnout is a real possibility, but these young guys also go not have the fitness levels of the top four. One has to try to pace oneself to avoid the grueling effects of the long tennis calendar.

    I am not sure that Thiem is yet ready to win a slam in 2017. I think that wise scheduling is a key component and also focusing on specific goals to achieve, while continuing to improve various aspects of his game.

    This young man is very talented and the potential for real success in the sport is something that he can realize if he takes the right steps.

  5. And didn’t Thiem play a lot of doubles in 2016 as well? I wish he would play a lighter schedule than what he is proposing for the start of 2017, but think he will remain in the top 10.

    • That is a good point about playing doubles. Thiem is going to have to prioritize this year. I think he should focus on singles and play less doubles. One can’t do it all. He needed to play 269 tournaments to get some good results and wins, but now i think he needs to change his focus. He has moved up and should be concentrating on the bigger tournaments. He has had success at the smaller tournaments and can still play some of them, but it should be all about Masters and slams if he wants to win at the next level.

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