Thiem Turns To 2018 After London Defeat
Dominic Thiem enjoyed the best season of his still-fledgling career in 2017, but the Austrian was the first to admit that it did not end the way he had hoped.
Thiem dropped his final round-robin encounter at the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday, suffering a 6-4, 6-1 defeat to David Goffin. It was a 'win and you're in' elimination match and Goffin dominated from start to finish, en route to securing a semi-final berth.
After storming to a quick 3-0 lead, Thiem was unable to rediscover his rhythm during the 72-minute affair, committing an uncharacteristic 27 unforced errors. Following the loss, the 24-year-old reflected on his performance.
"I had a very, very good start obviously," said Thiem. "Again, there were some very bad mistakes. I let him back into the match. I don't really like his game style. But today I was just too bad, and that's it. I mean, he was playing a solid match, but I was doing way too many errors, too many bad things. That's why I lost.
"I think I'm used to playing big events. The thing is that at the big events, there are big players, strong players. If you play bad against them, you will lose easy. That's the only thing which is tough about it. The bigger the events or the stages get, the better the players are. You have to play well. You have to compete well."
It was one year ago that Thiem made his debut at The O2, as the eighth seed. He would conclude his round-robin campaign with a 1-2 record once again, but that mark fails to tell the entire story. Boasting a career-high of No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings entering the week, Thiem caps an impressive season that saw him thrust himself into the upper echelon of the ATP World Tour's elite.
Few players boasted a stronger resume on clay than the Austrian, who streaked to the title at the Rio Open presented by Claro and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in both Barcelona and Madrid. The final run at the Mutua Madrid Open was his first at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. Also a semi-finalist in both Rome and Roland Garros, Thiem finished tied with Nadal for the match wins lead on the surface, with 24 victories apiece.
Despite his great success on clay, Thiem admits that his hard-court game needs improvement for 2018.
"I think before the US Open and at the US Open, I lost three very close matches with match points," Thiem added. "Of course, nobody forgets it. I think it's maybe still on my mind. Was a tough period to lose all these important matches, these tight matches.
"But still, like today, it was not really close. I was not in a close situation. I was just playing bad. So today has nothing to do with any mental problem. It was just a bad match. It was too easy, the score, to be getting tight or nervous."
Thiem remains in contention to finish inside the Top 5 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, should David Goffin or Jack Sock fail to win the title in London. He would be the first Austrian to do so since Thomas Muster was year-end No. 3 in 1995.
The 24-year-old will open his 2018 ATP World Tour season at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.