Speaking on The Tennis Podcast, the expert Catherine Whitaker commented on Dominic Thiem's win over Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final. Whitaker was amazed by the 25-year-old's ability to handle the pressure. "All I could think was just how tense and nervous Thiem looked", said Whitaker.
"His fitness trainer was doing this weird exercise where he had one hand on either side of his chest and was sort of literally trying to loosen up his chest. Daniela Hantuchova in our studio thought he was really feeling the tension and his fitness trainer was trying to physically press the tension out of him.
And so it proved, in those first three games it looked like, ‘Oh goodness me, he’s just crumbling.’ You could see that his arm weighed twice as much as it usually does and his movement wasn’t as nimble as usual.
It looked like it could have been a disastrous day for Dominic Thiem. For me that makes it all the more incredible that he pulled it back and he didn’t panic." "He said after the match that he felt in the zone the whole match, which I found really amazing.
He obviously didn’t read too much into the fact he was three love down, maybe even because of how nervous he was and he expected to make a slow start. He just managed to reset in his mind after that first set and say, ‘Okay, the match starts here.’ When Thiem’s in a tight spot, he just hits the ball harder, harder and harder.
It takes your breath away sometimes. He was bludgeoning the ball in that deciding set. We were all sitting there waiting for him to start feeling it, there were signs of that against Raonic in the semi-final in the deciding set when he had a real wobble. But he found something else in the final in that deciding set. This is an enormous statement from Thiem."