By Andrew Eichenholz
Throughout the year, EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com will be taking a look at players who could contend or surprise during this year's Series. Up now: Austrian Dominic Thiem.
The Dominic Thiem File
Residence: Lichtenworth, Austria
Current Rank: 29
Career-High Rank: 29 (June 2015)
Best 2014 Series Finish: 1R (Cincinnati, Canada)
Dominic Thiem, 21, has quietly established himself as one of the top young players in the world – among players in the Top 40, only Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, 20, is younger – putting the up-and-coming Austrian in a strong position to earn a seed at the US Open come August.
Thiem first burst onto the international scene as a junior in 2011, when he won both the Eddie Herr International Junior Championships and the Orange Bowl, two of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the world. The last player to take both titles in the same year was Andy Roddick in 1999; four years later Roddick ascended to No.1 in the world and won the US Open.
As a professional, Thiem has executed a steady and swift move up the rankings, from No. 405 in 2012 to No. 121 in 2013 to No. 39 last year, when he notched 14 victories over Top 50 players, including a win over then-world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka en route to the round of 16 in Madrid and victories over seeded players Ernests Gulbis and Feliciano Lopez on his way to the fourth round at the US Open. This year, Thiem took his next big step, securing his first ATP title with a victory at the French Open tune-up in Nice, France – where he beat Kyrgios, Gulbis and American No. 1 John Isner. Also in 2015, the former world junior No. 2 reached the quarterfinals at the Masters 1000 event in Miami as well as in Marseille and Munich.
Armed with one of the more dynamic one-handed backhands in the game and a serve that will continue to develop into a dangerous weapon as he matures, Thiem has the game and the moxie to excel at the sport’s highest levels. Last year was his first competing in Series events – he lost early in both Masters 1000 events – but with his talent and versatility, greater things surely await. Perhaps as soon as 2015.