At 22 years of age, Dominic Thiem is still one of the most interesting promises of the ATP. With his aggressive and powerful game, as well as his gorgeous one-handed backhand, he will be, without a doubt, a figure on the Tour for the years to come, and one of the players to watch, next week, at the Argentina Open.

At the Australian Open, we had the chance to talk with the Austrian, who is one of the nicest players on Tour.

How would you describe your tennis?

Dominic Thiem: I think I have an all-round game. Not big weakness. I prefer to play from the baseline. I like to take risks from the baseline. My favourite surface is clay. I like it the most. I grew up playing in clay. Indoor, outdoor, during the whole year, playing in clay in Austria. Clay is my favourite surface and I think it will always be my favourite surface.

What expectations do you have for this year?

DT: I had a really good year last year. I have finished top 20, which is great for me. This year I would like to play well in the big events, which was not the case last year. Then if I finish this year within the top 20 or even top 15, I would be very happy.

What do you think you need to improve to reach the top 10/15?  

DT: I need to improve everything, the top players are so good so you need to improve everything to compete against them or even beat them. I need to improve everything if I want to have my chances.

Can the top 5 be beaten?  

DT: Yes. If you train very hard every day, I think you can beat them. They are exceptional, they are different from the other guys, but still, if you keep training, keep developing your tennis, and you have a good day, you can beat them, it is not impossible.

Thiem3You had a brilliant junior career and everybody was expecting a brilliant future for you. Do you feel any pressure to perform in that way?

DT: It was nice to hear that; but when I finished my junior career I was somewhere around the 500th position, so I knew I hadn’t reached anything yet, I needed to work very hard to reach the top of the ranking.  I don’t feel the pressure. I can only train hard and concentrate and keep playing at my best.

Why have you decided to go to Argentina in February?

DT: I like clay. That is why I have chosen it. I have never been there. I have big expectations, and I like to visit countries for the first time. During my junior career I have spent seven weeks in South America, I really liked it, so that is why I decided to come back to South America.

Do you like any other sport?

DT: I like soccer the most. I’m a big Chelsea supporter.

Are you planning to watch any soccer match in Argentina?

DT: Yes, I’d like to have the opportunity. It is really big in Argentina, so I’m looking forward to it. I like going to the stadiums around the world, so I hope I have the time to do that.

(Photos: Getty Images)