“Dominic Thiem will be stronger than ever for the Australian Open”
“Dominic Thiem will be stronger, fitter and faster than ever for the Australian Open…”
Jez Green worked as a physical conditioner for former world number 1 Andy Murray. His most recent challenge was to bring Dominic Thiem to first place after a lengthy injury time out. He wrote exclusively for Tennishead with a big update on the 2020 US Open champion’s fitness.
It has become very easy to forget how good Dominic Thiem is. Watching him train now, he’s as good as he’s always been. When he was on fire two years ago he could beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, at their best. He was next, he was next number one, before he got injured, he was there, he was at that level.
Working with Dominic, someone who has already been at the top and who is also a bit older, is an interesting project for me. He had a really fun history with fitness, he never really did a structured fitness program because he was working with a bit of an old school trainer and doing everything on the court. We changed that. We put science into his fitness program, which he hasn’t really done before.
It’s been a long road for him to recover from injury, but we fully trust the process. He broke his wrist twice in a few months, the first of which was in June last year. He started playing again very slowly, in September, October, and transitioned from softball for about a month. That’s when we were doing a lot of fitness, September, October, November and in December it was pretty much hitting full throttle. He went to Dubai and he made pretty good progress there, but he really wasn’t going to make it to Australia.
We were planning to take him to Indian Wells and Miami, so we kept him hard in January and February, which was pretty good, but he was a little unwell, a little sore in his wrist. So we put Miami aside, and then that’s when we got on clay. We were on clay from March to April until today.
Clay was better for the shot he needed to find – his forehand. Everything else was fine and, as he had injured his forehand, it was necessary to find this shot after the breaks. You literally have to accelerate on clay, it’s as simple as that. If you don’t accelerate on clay, the ball isn’t going anywhere. You don’t have to accelerate the same way on grass or on fast hard courts – the ball passes anyway, but on clay you don’t stand a chance. That’s why we kept him there, it was the only way for him to find the shot, was to keep him on clay.
But his body, because he’s done so much fitness in the last five months, is really good. The only thing he lacks are matches, but he has them now. His actual fitness and body was conditioned and pretty much ready to go to Miami in May, it’s just the beatings weren’t there. There has been no wrist pain since about February.
I think we’ll start to see real vintage Dominic Thiem soon. He now needs to play games and now needs 25 top games to get back to the top and I think he’s ready for that.
I always work about three months in advance, because I always plan where the body needs to go. So I personally have half an eye on Australia, but he’s ready with the work he’s put in over the last three to six months and he was really well prepared for the US Open for the first time since more than a year.
He’s fresh, he’s ready, he’s in good shape and he’s not in pain. With another really big training block in November and December, I think he will be on another level by Australia. He will have all his power and be even stronger, fitter and faster than ever. He never really did a strength program scientifically, so we did a lot of strength work to make him a lot more explosive. I think it’s going to end up looking a little different than before, but maybe not dramatically. It’s not going to be dramatic, but people are going to say, ‘Hey, he looks strong. Everyone around is starting to notice that this body is changing.
Dominic made two French Open finals, one final in Australia, and he won the US Open, so he made five finals. You still have to think that a full-strength Dominic on clay makes the French Open his number one possibility, but I think all Slams are possible. He is very fresh and has a very good motivation. He can stay five more years in tennis, so he has very good possibilities. Make no mistake, Novak and Rafa won’t want to see Dominic Thiem back in top form!
Jez Green’s fitness app, Built4Tennis, is available on the App Store
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