A single-handed comeback: Dominic Thiem’s hidden trump card

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

Dominic Thiem’s victory at the US Open final was nothing short of extraordinary. Here, we look beyond the match stats to find out how he pulled it off.

One week ago today, Dominic Thiem stunned the tennis world with a brilliant 5-set comeback thriller against Alexander Zverev in the US Open final of 2020. While the match stats do not reveal any areas of dominance for Thiem over Zverev, the answer to how the Austrian secured that first Grand Slam victory may lie beyond the data.

Upon looking at the match stats, one may wonder how Dominic Thiem sealed the win at the US Open Final, as the stats are rather unfavorable. In fact, Zverev appears to have a slight advantage overall, particularly with his service game, demonstrating almost double the number of aces as Thiem, more first-serves in, and a slightly higher win percentage of those first serves.

Now the question remains: What did Thiem have over Zverev which enabled him to come out as the victor? Rather than pointlessly searching for an advantageous statistic in Thiem’s favor, it is preferable to define some prominent differences in the playstyles of each player and draw out possible advantages of such differences.

So, what is the most notable difference between Thiem and Zverev’s tennis styles? You guessed it. The backhand. While Zverev equips himself with the increasingly popular double-handed backhand, Thiem has opted for the lesser-seen single-handed backhand.

While this fact may not appear to have any implications regarding Thiem’s win at first glance, particularly with the current world number one, Novak Djokovic, possessing a double-hander, it is still worth investigating for this particular scenario, and here’s why.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse