Ashley Marshall, writing at, listed Dominic Thiem on the shortlist of title contenders at the 2017 Us Open (Aug. 27th). By betting odds Thiem comes in as the seventh favorite for the title, behind all of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Nick Kyrgios. However, it doesn't take a very careful look at his career at all to see that Thiem has not yet developed a hard-court game. As such the Austrian does not seem like a title contender at the US Open, at least not one that belongs on the short list.

Thiem hasn't done much in hard-court majors

First there are Thiem's results in majors to look at. Outside of the French Open he has never survived the fourth round of any Grand Slam. He will be contesting his 16th major at the 2017 US Open now so he has been around for a little while. His most recent results at the US Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon are also career bests or at least tied for career bests. However there is no precedent for Thiem winning even just a round-of-sixteen match in a major on cement and there's a clue of how he will do at Flushing Meadows this season.

Thiem did an interesting thing about a month ago when he entered the Washington draw. That was a change in scheduling as the Austrian had always played on the clay courts of Kitzbuhel during the same week in previous years.

But the change in scheduling didn't do much for Thiem's results. He went just 3-3 in the Hard Court events that have lead up to the 2017 US Open with the following losses:

  • At Washington, to then 45-ranked Kevin Anderson in the round of sixteen
  • At Montreal, to then 36th-ranked Diego Schwartzman in the round of thirty-two
  • At Cincinnati, to then 31st-ranked David Ferrer in the quarterfinals

Those results show that it is not taking a player on amazing form to take Thiem out of the hard-court draws.

It's true that's none of the trio of players that beat Thiem are poor, but none of them went on to win the title in their tournaments and none were ranked in the top 30 at match time.

Only one hard-court title on resume

Thiem has just one title this season in any event and that came on clay back in Rio. At about the same time of year he went just 5-3 in Acapulco, Indian Wells, and Miami combined, losing two matches to just Borna Coric and Sam Querrey on the hard-court surface.

Acapulco 2016 remains the only hard-court event that Thiem has ever won, but that was a year and a half ago now. His win over Gael Monfils in the tour finals last year is the only confidence-building match result Thiem has on the hard-court surface against a quality player in recent seasons (Monfils was ranked 6th at the time).

The Austrian can't be called a title contender at the 2017 US Open except for possibly having some of his chances redeemed by the luck of the draw or his youth. Thiem, at the age of 24, might outrun and outlast established veterans in lengthy matches. However, he also might be in trouble in the third round against either Adrian Mannarino or Ivo Karlovic. In the fourth round, if Thiem makes it that far, he would face either Roberto Bautista-Agut or Juan Martin del Potro.

Del Potro is certainly shaky right now while Bautista-Agut played in Winston-Salem and won the title. As much as that speaks to form, it speaks to fatigue as well since that final was played on Saturday. It all gives Thiem a chance to make the quarterfinals.

However, Thiem is a player that might be coin-tossing early in his matches. Ferrer, Sam Querrey, and possibly even Gael Monfils, Anderson, and Lucas Pouille might be more into Flushing Meadows this season than Thiem. The Austrian looks about 10th or 11th favorite, which suggests a fourth-round exit or maybe a fortunate spot in the quarters. Thiem remains a clay courter that hasn't yet mastered the hard-court surface and that would make him a stunner just to appear in the final at the 2017 US Open. He seems to be taking his hard-court game more seriously, but not without results as of yet.