Dominic Thiem battled back from the verge of defeat to down world No.1 Novak Djokovic in a three-hour, three-set semi-final classic at the ATP Finals.
He’s one of the most popular players on the ATP Tour. He is popular among fans, commentators and coaches. He represents his beloved Cyprus and is a ‘king’ to everyone back home.
He has an exciting, yet inconsistent game, but he can trouble the best in the world on any given day. He achieved his highest rank in 2006 and has been a semi-finalist at two of the major grand slams and also a finalist at the Australian Open.
He is Marcos Baghdatis.
Looking at these stats you would think Marcos would be a top 10 player, but sadly a promising career has gone a little wayward.
His journey to the top started in 2006, when Baghdatis entered the Australian Open as an unseeded player at 20 years of age.
The then virtually unknown Cypriot defied all the odds and magnificently made it to the final, losing to World No. 1, Roger Federer.
The same year he made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and also won his first ATP World Tour title at the China Open.
In 2007, while Baghdatis could not match his run at the Australian Open, he managed to be a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon and he was also able to reach the fourth round at the French Open.
He won his second ATP World Tour title in Zagreb and was a runner-up in France and Halle, while also making the semi-finals of an ATP Masters event in Paris.
He had a mixed year in 2008, with injuries disrupting his season.
At the Australian Open he made the third round before losing to Australian Lleyton Hewitt in five sets.
This match lasted 282 minutes, beginning at 11:52 pm and finishing at 4:34 am. It can be found on YouTube and is widely considered one of the best matches in recent Grand Slam history.
He found some form in Halle, where he made the quarter-finals and at Wimbledon, where he progressed to the fourth round. Baghdatis suffered injuries for the remainder of the season, and did not compete in any other ATP World Tour events.
He entered 2009 at No. 96 in the rankings, progressing to the fourth round in best Slam event, the Australian Open, before losing to Novak Djokovic.
After the Australian Open, he made the Quarter Finals of an ATP events in Johannesburg and Delray Beach. After suffering a knee injury, Baghdatis won two Challenger events.
He ended the year with several injuries, but before he did, he won his third ATP World Tour title in Stockholm.
During the 2010 season, Baghdatis was the only player to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal while they were world No. 1.
Before the Australian Open, he won the Medibank International ATP tournament in Sydney – his fourth career title. He then made the third round of the Australian Open, retiring due to injury against Lleyton Hewitt.
He was a semi-finalist in Dubai. He made the fourth round in Indian Wells, beating Federer on the way.
He also found form on clay, being a semi-finalist at the BMW Open and making the third round at the French Open. He made a few more quarter-finals, was runner-up in Washington and a semi-finalist at Cincinnati.
Now, you must be thinking that this guy is going to be something special – a couple of great years on the tour, a few titles and plenty of QF and SF appearances.
Well 2011 and 2012 were inconsistent, and in 2013 he was horrible – some moments of brilliance, but always a let down just when you think he is hitting form again.
In 2013, Marcos has lost more matches then he has won, and he has recorded 13 first round exits on the tour.
What is to blame for all this? As a loyal fan of his, I might have an idea.
I, like many other fans, watch every match he plays on the tour, and it really hurts to see someone with so much talent lose to players he should be beating on any day of the week.
Does he have the love for the game anymore? Is he as focused as he was during 2006-2010?
These are common questions, and there are so many more.
Looking at his track record, he struggles week-in week-out to maintain results, especially at the ATP 250 events, where there isn’t much of a crowd and he is playing lower-ranked opponents.
Meanwhile, when he takes on a higher ranked opponent at a big tournament, he lifts his game and sometimes causes upsets.
Baghdatis also has issues with his game. On any given day he can be a shot maker, but rarely can he maintain it for the duration of a match.
The world’s top 10 can get through matches even when they are not playing their best. The problem with Marcos is that his very best and his very worst is a huge difference, and he’s been unable to find a game between these things which he can fall back on.
Thus, the inconsistency. You can usually tell which Baggy will show up after watching the first couple of games of his matches.
Marcos Baghdatis, my plea to you is to please work hard and get results, be more consistent and grab another title.
You are 28 years old, time is slowly running out. You have been blessed with being married last year and having a daughter.
Don’t let your talent slip away, otherwise you will always be known as a ‘one-hit wonder’ thanks to your run in 2006.
We all believe in you. Good luck Baggy!