Tag Archive: Dominic Thiem


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! As a tribute to this special holiday, I’ve turned the Challenger Tennis site green. I do hope you like it.

So let’s have a look at Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Bradley Klahn USA 23 63 others lost points
Kenny de Schepper FRA 26 66 others lost points
Jiri Vesely CZE 20 73 Indian Wells R3
Alexandr Nedovyesov KAZ 27 78 others lost points
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 86 Indian Wells R3
Dusan Lajovic SRB 23 89 Indian Wells Q
Norbert Gombos SVK 23 164 Kazan QF
Farrukh Dustov UZB 27 166 Kazan SF
Albano Olivetti FRA 22 173 Kazan QF
John-Patrick Smith AUS 25 198 IW Q/Irving FQR
Andrea Collarini ARG 22 205 others lost points
David Souto VEN 21 214 others lost points
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 215 Spain F4 SF/F5 F
Ante Pavic CRO 25 229 others lost points
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 20 232 Turkey F5 QF/F6 F
Jarmere Jenkins USA 23 235 others lost points
Axel Michon FRA 23 238 Kazan R2
Jose Checa-Calvo ESP 28 239 others lost points
Daniel Cox GBR 23 243 GBR F6 QF
Emilio Gomez ECU 22 249 others lost points
Juan Ignacio Londero ARG 20 253 others lost points
Saketh Myneni IND 26 258 India F2 W
Daniel Smethurst GBR 23 270 Canada F1 W

The ultra-observant will notice that, in some cases, two different results appear on the “Why” axis of this week’s table. That’s because the ATP 1000 Native American Wells event runs two weeks* and so a double dose of results is accounted for in the ATP’s current rankings totals.

You also may have noted that a pair of 20-year-olds made semi-deep dips into the Wells this past week**. The Vessel, Jiri Vesely, put a scare into Andy Murray before succumbing in three sets in the third round, while The Denominator Dominic Thiem went out a trifle more meekly in R3 to Julian Benneteau.  All in all, a good and full-of-fruit two weeks for both, since they also got diplomas from ATP University yesterday.

ATP University Scholars

ATP University Scholars (back row, L to R: Bradley Klahn, Alejandro Gonzalez, Thomas Fabbiano, Alexandr Nedovyesov, Marcelo Demoliner, Marton Fucsovics, Jiri Vesely. Front row, L to R: Guillaume Rufin, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Guilherme Clezar, Dominic Thiem)

In interesting news of the more aged, 27-year-old father-of-three Farrukh Dustov has made a helluvan effort to push past a previous career high that was established nearly seven years ago in April of 2007. The 6’4” (193 cm) Uzbek with the booming serve has been hampered by injuries for the past three years, but is up nine spots to a new career high as a result of his Kazan Challenger semifinal showing.

Dust Storms His Way Into Three Straight Semis

Dust Storms His Way Into Three Straight Semis

After a two-loss start to 2014, Dustov has been the picture of consistency, reaching the semis of Astana, Cherbourg and Kazan in his last three tourneys. The 11-year pro still has his sights set on the Top 100, and at #166 is now one of the few Top 200 players whose professional ranking has eclipsed his ITF junior high mark.

One of the guys who has a two-week tally of results is JP Smith. The 25-year-old Aussie and former University of Tennessee standout had a good couple of qualifying weeks in Palm Springs and Irving — although he failed to capitalize on being up a break twice in the deciding set of his FQR match vs. Jimmy Wang in Irving — and thus finds himself up 21 spots in the rankings, breaking into the Top 200 for the very first time in his career.

JP Smith (photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis)

JP Smith (photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis)

Another rankings fortnight is now upon us, as the ATP 1000 Masters event in Miami gets underway today and takes us through the next 13 days, during which time the Rimouski, Panama City, Barranquilla and Guadalajara Challengers will also take place (as well as a zillion or so Futures events).

So we’ll see you again on the 31st of March with another stunning edition of the W.A.T.C.H. List.***

*really a week and 5/7ths

**In which case, bully for you.

***And maybe even publish another article or two before then. But no promises.

Challenger Tennis Top Ten Players To View (Part II)

Part two in my epic mini-series, in which I altruistically point your eyeballs towards challenger-level players who are oh-so-well worth watching. If you need to know the methodology behind these selections, or just would like to (re)familiarize yourselves with the tennistical forces of nature that are the first two men in this series (said forces would be Sam Groth and Dustin Brown), here is Part I.

Now then. Every single damn day, it seems, my next subject makes me regret not choosing him as one of my Top Ten Players to Watch for 2014. After all, the dude has a 10/3 record on the year, with wins over Pablo Carreno-Busta and Somdev Devvarman among others. Plus a challenger title in both singles and doubles.  So I’m certainly not going to whiff on my opportunity to include him on my Players to View list.

I’m typing, of course, about…

Yuki Bhambri

Less than six months ago, this 21-year-old Indian lad had a ranking of #593. But then, after missing all of May and June with injury, he made the finals of the $120,000 Kaohsiung Challenger in heroic fashion, and posted a 30/6 record to finish his 2013 campaign, rising to #195 on the ATP Rankings Manifest.

And now, the Australian Open Boys and Orange Bowl champ of 2009 will be a career high ~#142 when the new rankings come out this Monday.

Someday I'll Stop Using This One Pic I Have of Yuki. But It Won't Be Today.

Someday I’ll Stop Using This One Pic I Have of Yuki. But It Won’t Be Today.

Blessed with a pure, natural-looking ball-striking ability and penetrating groundies which I’ve often compared to those of Marin Cilic, Bhambri needs only to shore up his serve before he becomes an ATP Tour-Level regular. And to stay healthy, of course.

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As I was putting together a database of Challenger and Futures players in the Top 500, I compiled just about every available piece of info I could find. And I found that one of the more interesting data fields came from the players’ “Personal Interests”, as listed on their ITF Biography Pages.

If you’ve ever tried researching players outside the Top 200, you’ll probably know how hard it is to dig up any info other than results for said players.  While a large majority of the Top 200 enjoy a lavish paragraph or two on the ATP’s “Personal” profile tab*, often the only sense one can get of a tenniser’s multi-dimensionality comes from this part of their ITF page.

Now, a lot of these interests are fairly drab or predictable; almost 50% of players list either soccer or football, for example.  Or 15% list “golf”, for another. But some are interesting and unique enough that they bear special mention, which is what I’ll do in this post, expertly dividing them into neat-o sub-categories such as:

Lotharios

A few players naturally list “girls” as one of their personal interests (although, predictably, none list them as “women”) — Marton Fucsovics and Brydan Klein among them (insert your own joke here).

That Ball's About To Be Fucsed Up

That Ball’s About To Be Fucsed Up

But only two (2) (TWO!) players list them as “girls!” with an exclamation point: Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri and Israel’s Dudi Sela. If you’ve been following the news, you will find that to be either a remarkable coincidence or Proof Once And For All of God’s Unquestionable Existence.

Oh, and there’s one (very smart) player who knows on what side his croissant is buttered, and that’s Lucas Pouille. Because instead of “girls” or “girls!”, the 19-year-old Frenchman has: “Girlfriend.” Period.

"Ooh la la -- I know how zee croissant is butTAIRED"

“Ooh la la — I know how zee croissant is butTAIRED”

Moldovans

As with Jaziri and Sela, I noticed that Moldovans like ATP #171 Radu Albot and #379 Maxim Dubarenco are the only people who list “walking with friends” as a favored activity.  Not “hanging out with friends” or “visiting with friends” – walking with friends.  Actually, Albot is even more exclusive than Dubarenco is, as he wrote “walking with best friends”.

Maximum Velocity

Maximum Velocity

Are you merely a good friend to Radu? Or are you a best friend? Find out by seeing if he walks with you!

This Moldovan pattern is either further proof of a Universal Order, or just an indication that the Moldovans copied off of each other’s ITF profile questionnaires when they filled them out.

Scholars

In this increasingly digital age, where 1/4th of all players list one of “internet”, “computer” or “video games” as a main interest, it’s becoming rare to find readers on the tour.

Thus, I am singling out for special commendation Ricardas Berankis, Alejandro Falla, Andrey Golubev (who, in also listing “playing chess” as a favored pursuit, wins the title of Ultra-Nerd) and Uladzimir Ignatik.

"Hi, I'm Andrey Golubev! Have You Ever Read A Book Called "Hitting Back"?

“Hi, I’m Andrey Golubev! Have you ever read a book called “Hitting Back“?

Kimmer Coppejans lists “Manga” as an interest — that’s a kind of Japanese comic book, so I’ll give him half-credit.

Adventurers

One of the few luxuries of being outside the Top 100, I suppose, is that insurance clauses on multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements won’t limit you from your favorite, possibly career-ending adrenalized adventure pursuits.  Yay?

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Since there are seven challenger tourneys happening this week, there was bound to be some excellent written work in and around these events. And just in case you missed my tweets about them this week, herein in lies the very best of those.

First and definitely foremost comes this piece about Dominic Thiem’s crazy fitness coach, Sepp Resnik, and the wacky methods he uses to train the D(en)ominator.

Resnik's Guiding Hand

Resnik’s Guiding Hand

If you do nothing else with your life, at the very least you must read this article — it’s truly that remarkable. (Oh, and here’s the article in its original German, if you like to dabble in Deutsch.) And I’d love it if you’d report back to me and tell me your thoughts about it in the comments.

Next up is this introspective, thoughtful and well-written blog post from Jason JungThe ATP #396 — who’s had a very decent year at 42/22, and just fed Mitchell Krueger a double-breadstick today in Yeongwol — nicely and concisely conveys all the joy, doubt, beauty and pain of the weekly challenger tennis grind.

The Jung And The Restless

The Jung And The Restless

Similarly, this stellar article from Tennis East Coast shows us you don’t even have to go halfway around the world to have a lonely challenger experience. There are similar challenges to be faced even in a player’s home country. I love the bit about Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as I felt the same way the pros did.

Charlottesville Chally - Photo by Tennis East Coast

Charlottesville Chally – Photo by Tennis East Coast

And it truly is a shame that some of these events are so sparsely attended. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I can’t think of anywhere else you get as much bang for your entertainment buck as you can at a challenger or Futures tournament (and oftentimes you don’t even have to pay at all).

The players you see are bound to be just a few very small improvements away from the ATP Tour; oftentimes they’re just as talented, but don’t quite have their mental games or fitness focus where it needs to be.  (And, because their mental games aren’t as strong, you get to see far more interesting meltdowns than you’d see at ATP level).

Plus you’re closer to the court than you’d normally be at an ATP tourney. If you’re a tennis fan, you truly owe it to yourself to check the calendar for tourneys in the area, and then go. The players, the tourneys and you yourself have everything to gain. Do it!

Lastly, Colette Lewis spotlights a few of the players you can see at such events in her October Aces columnMitchell Frank was one of the players at the Charlottesville Challenger, Karen Khachanov made the quarterfinals of the Geneva Challenger this week, and Elias Ymer played the qualies at the Bratislava Challenger.

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s that time of the week again — time to see who’s achieved their career highs for the week of 21-Oct, 2013 (of those players on the Challenger Tour).  Here’s this week’s List:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High
Tim Smyczek USA 25 84
Julian Reister GER 27 87
Diego Schwartzman ARG 21 105
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 139
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 141
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 148
Radu Albot MDA 23 171
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 182
Blaz Rola SLO 23 184
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 186
Mirza Basic BIH 22 202
John-Patrick Smith AUS 24 207
Miloslav Mecir SVK 25 215
Enrique Lopez-Perez ESP 22 223
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 241
Daniel Cox GBR 23 248
Theodoros Angelinos GRE 29 269
Chase Buchanan USA 22 274
Egor Gerasimov BLR 20 302
Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan IND 25 309

First of all, I swear I’m not stacking the W.A.T.C.H. List deck with Argies.  They really do keep charting career highs at an alarming rate, and I reckon it’ll continue until everyone in the Top 10 is named Facundo.

Next of all, another hats off is in order for Mr. Tim Smyczek. Four weeks ago, he was thrilled to break into the Top 100, but he hasn’t stopped there: he’s been on the List every single week since then, and is now quite comfortably entrenched in the Top 100 at #84.

As ever, the players with U.S. collegiate tennis experience continue to thrive, with Blaz Rola (THE Ohio State University), J.P. Smith (University of Tennessee), Theodoros Angelinos (University of Virginia), Chase Buchanan (THE Ohio State University) and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (University of Washington) all logging personal bests this week. Nedunchezhiyan was once a Top 10 Junior (#9 in 2006).

Jee Whiz

Jee Whiz

Lastly, I continue to be amused that Dominic Thiem and Gerald Melzer keep racing up the list in tandem, given their acrimonious relationship. It makes me envision a future in which they’re the Top Two Austrians and are forced to be awkward Davis Cup thiemates.  (In case you missed it: the brothers Melzer have been pissed off because the D(en)ominator allegedly demanded fiscal recompense and sat out Austria’s most recent Davis Cup tie because he wasn’t offered enough).

Tennis needs more rivalries, and so far this has been a good one.

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