By the time Dominic Thiem’s career is over, we may remember the 2019 season as the year in which everything came together for the Austrian.
It wasn’t long ago that Thiem was typecast as a one-surface wonder, seen by many as an elite clay court player who was unable to replicate his success on the other surfaces. It was hard to argue with his detractors at the time, as eight of his then eleven career titles had come on clay ahead of last March.
While many believed the story was out on the 26-year-old, Thiem would flip the script throughout the rest of the season – beginning at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.
He put on a performance for the ages in Indian Wells, traversing a loaded player field to claim victories over Ivo Karlovic, Gilles Simon and Milos Raonic before booking his spot in the final against five-time BNP Paribas Open champion Roger Federer. After dropping the first set to the Swiss Maestro, Thiem battled back to take the next two frames and claim the single biggest win of his entire career. He had finally broken through on cement, and officially put the rest of the tennis world on notice with his first ATP Masters 1000 title.
Have yourself a week, @ThiemDomi 👏
✅ First Masters 1000 title
✅ First hardcourt victory over Roger Federer
✅ First Austrian to be crowned Indian Wells Champion#BNPPO19 pic.twitter.com/3swjAXxbHo
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 18, 2019
Following his victory in Tennis Paradise, Thiem has propelled himself through one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory. At the Barcelona Open in April, he overpowered a myriad of perennial top-10 players to take the title without dropping a set. His fine form continued at Roland Garros, snapping World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s 26-match winning streak at Grand Slams before eventually falling in the final to Rafael Nadal. He wrapped up his summer by returning home to the Generali Open in Kitzbühel to claim his third trophy of the year, once again refusing to relinquish a single set. Not yet finished collecting hardware for the season, Thiem then defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at the China Open in Beijing to claim his record fourth singles title of the year.
We’d be hard pressed to forget another player who has blossomed into stardom stemming from their performance in Indian Wells, as 19-year-old Canadian phenom Bianca Andreescu claimed the women’s crown before moving on to shock the world this summer with a Grand Slam title at the US Open. On both the men’s and women’s sides in 2019, a title in Tennis Paradise became a springboard for each player to begin the most impressive season of their career.
As evidence of his astonishing 2019 season, Thiem’s accolades have propelled him into this year’s Nitto ATP Finals. The year-end climax to the men’s professional season, the tournament features only the world’s eight best qualified singles players. So far, only Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev have accrued enough ranking points to join the Austrian. While Thiem has secured his spot at the season finale for four consecutive years, there’s no doubt that his 2019 season has been a year to remember.