Fresh off a semi-final appearance at the French Open, the 22-year-old Austrian last night proved his credentials on the grass-courts by claiming his first title on the surface with victory at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Thiem defeated German Philipp Kohlschreiber to claim the title having also defeated top seed Roger Federer in the semi-finals. His triumph in Stuttgart was his 7th ATP level title and his 4th of 2016.
Thiem has the weapons required to go deep into this year’s Wimbledon tournament. His game is based around a strong serve with powerful groundstrokes off both wings including a huge single-handed backhand, good court movement and the ability to finish points at the net. This, in addition to his recent grass-court success and a big victory over arguably the game’s greatest ever player, will do his confidence no harm going into this year’s Championships. His previous best result at Wimbledon was a 2nd round appearance last year however there has been a remarkable improvement in his game over the past 12 months and he has since claimed 6 ATP level titles.
Thiem’s ranking will also hold him in very good stead. The withdrawal of world number 4 Rafael Nadal from this year’s Wimbledon tournament will almost certainly mean that Thiem will receive a top 8 seeding and not have to face a higher ranked player until at least the quarter-finals. If he can get a favourable draw and provided he gets through the first few rounds, I believe we could well see him at the pointy end of the second week.
Thiem will continue his Wimbledon preparation when he competes at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle Germany this week, where he is the number 3 seed. Other big names competing at Halle include Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych.