Paul Annocone has urged patience with Dominic Thiem, saying Roger Federer and Pete Sampras both had similar difficulties.
Thiem has admitted he has struggled mentally since winning his maiden Grand Slam title, particularly given the extra pressures the coronavirus pandemic brings.
Annacone, though, worked with both Roger Federer and Pete Sampras in his coaching career, and he says what has happened to him is absolutely natural.
Speaking about Thiem to the Tennis Channel, Annacone said: “When you get to that level where he is, now it’s like: ‘Now what?’
“Roger and Pete both talked to me a lot about the difference between getting there and staying there.
“And I think that once you get there there’s another evaluation of: ‘Hey, where do I go from here, what do I do and what gives me the joy of doing it? Is it the pursuit or is it the accomplishment?’
“Those are the things that Dominic Thiem has to realize. I think everyone does it for a different reason.
“Pete was all about excellence, accumulating all the trophies and Major titles. Roger lives the life and loves the life. Thiem’s got to figure out what is it for him, what’s gonna keep driving him.”
Thiem himself has admitted that a large part of his mental struggles now is the come-down from achieving his goal of becoming a Grand Slam champion.
But, as Annocone points out, what the Austrian is going through now is not as uncommon in tennis as we may think.
“Look it’s a really complicated world we are living in with a lot of different things going on.
“And for Dominic Thiem a lot of it is the COVID stuff and also what he talked about – the 15 years of focus.”
“The one other thing that resonates with me a little differently, is that I remember talking to Pete Sampras when he won the US Open for the first time – something he had been chasing his whole life.
“He won it and it kind of took him a couple of years to settle in, to go ‘Okay this is what I’m doing’ because after he won he went through a whole process of ‘Why do I play, what do I want to do, this is what I do’.
“It took him a while to get comfortable, so I wonder if that is part of the equation for Thiem right now as well.”
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