Günter Bresnik

Austrian tennis coach
Günter Bresnik with Dominic Thiem

Günter Bresnik (born 21 April 1961) is an Austrian tennis coach.[1]

Early years

Born in Vienna to two physicians, he did not take up tennis until age 16; he studied medicine for four years at the University of Vienna. As Bresnik recalls, his career as a coach "happened by accident, while studying medicine."[2] He had begun doing coaching sessions while in school, and made contacts with top players. One of them was 19 year old Horst Skoff; in 1987 Skoff asked Bresnik to join him as coach during a five-week South American trip. Bresnik had planned to take off only one semester; he coached Skoff for three years, and, with encouragement from his father, never returned to medical school.[3] He has found this a rewarding career: "When you train elite players, you go to great tournaments, hotels ... You always get great food. If you complained about such a thing, I think you need a psychiatrist."[4]

Coaching career

In his coaching career since the mid-1980s, though never a tour level player himself, Bresnik has coached 27 top 100 tennis pros,[5] including Boris Becker (describing Bresnik as a disciplined, hard-working, and humble man and coach),[6] Henri Leconte, Horst Skoff, Patrick McEnroe, Patrick Baur, Ernests Gulbis (calling Bresnik the "best technical coach out there")[7] and Stefan Koubek.[8] Dominic Thiem, winner of the 2020 U.S. Open,[9] had been coached by Gunter Bresnik from age eight to 2019, but he has known Bresnik since he was three–after Thiem’s father, Wolfgang, came to work as a coach at Bresnik’s international tennis academy in Vienna in 1997.[10]

From 1992–1993 and 1998–2004, Bresnik was the captain of the Austrian Davis Cup team.[6] In 1998–99, he was the director of the Austrian Tennis Association. On 21 October 2016, Bresnik's first book, entitled "The Dominic Thiem Method", was published. In this he portrays both his plotted strategy for Dominic Thiem's career path from the eight-year-old boy to the world-class athlete and his own career as a tennis coach and administrator.[11] Bresnik training techniques with Thiem have been described as authoritarian and demanding. He has been criticized for having long-term protege Thiem ("his creature") play in too many tournaments and ending his seasons "on his kneecaps."[12] In 2016 Thiem played in 27 tournaments; in February 2017, he played in four tournaments: Sofia, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam and Acapulco; Bresnik admitted that "the schedule was really ridiculous, it's my fault."[13] He has also been criticized for keeping Thiem out of Davis Cup competition, stating: "He [Thiem] has no obligation to play Davis Cup. I cannot hear this patriotic crap."[14] His typical training day was 12 hours long, 8am to 8pm.[15] Some of Bresnik's training techniques are unusual for tennis, such as putting weights around Thiem's waist, taking him into the woods and have him run back home; "I prefer to train outdoors... In Austria, to climb up the mountains, to go hiking, gives a mental boost to a player to get to the top."[16][17] Bresnik defended Thiem's heavy workload and vigorous fitness training, noting, "you are not going to succeed in this sport if you are soft physically or mentally." He was originally supported by Thiem who stated that "Günter is the perfect coach for me."[18]

In April 2019, Thiem and Bresnik split.[19] Bresnik did not speculate on the reasons for the breakup at the time.[20] A year later the split became publicly acrimonious. Bresnik claimed that Thiem and his father "owed everything" to him; without him Thiem would only be a futures player and his father would be a club trainer in Seebenstein. He said that Thiem and his father lacked loyalty, honesty and values.[21] Thiem then accused Bresnik of megalomania. He reiterated that he would not discuss the reasons for the breakup, "at least for now."[22] His father said that Thiem wished to make decisions for himself.[23]

In 2020-2021, Bresnik was working with Grand Slam semi-finalists Jerzy Janowicz and Ernests Gulbis.[24] Since January 2021, he is also working with Gael Monfils.[25][26]

Bresnik has been described as "the Giacometti of tennis. He sees a figure in a block of marble, which is only a block of marble for others."[27] He is known for having an eye for technical intricacies and how to correct any weakness.[18] Ion Tiriac called him "the only one to understand tennis.",[27] as well as "the best coach in the world."[18] Bresnik describes himself as a coach who is "very obsessed with the quality of the technique and the strokes."[28] He does not consider himself a motivator for his students, claiming that "the drive must be with the player himself. I cannot do anything with the talk about the coach as a motivator."[29]


Bresnick is married with four daughters. He lives in Innermanzing, Lower Austria, and runs a tennis academy in the Südstadt area, near Vienna.[30]


  1. ^ Marzorati, Gerald (3 June 2016). "The Next Great Men's Tennis Player?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  2. ^ Interview Gunter Bresnik[dead link]
  3. ^ Kralicek, Wolfgang (2016-10-31). "Günter Bresnik - "Talent ist unbedeutend"". NEWS (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Nová Tennis Arena: Günter Bresnik exkluzivně". Tennis Arena. 2019-12-14. Archived from the original on 2019-12-14. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  5. ^ Addicott, Adam (2016-06-02). "Gunther Bresnik Exclusive: Meet The Man Who Taught 27 Top-100 Players". UBITENNIS. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  6. ^ a b Clarey, Christopher (2017-06-08). "At French Open, a Coach Whose Legacy Keeps Visiting His Table (Published 2017)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  7. ^ Cronin, Matt (2015-08-15). "Gulbis credits turnaround to coach Bresnik". tennis.com. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "The Global Professional Tennis Coach Association (GPTCA)". gptcatennis.org. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Futterman, Matthew (2020-09-13). "Dominic Thiem Comes Back From Down 2 Sets to Win U.S. Open Final". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  10. ^ Garber, Greg (2014-03-12). "Garber: Five questions with Dominic Thiem". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Bresnik's plotted strategy for Thiem's success
  12. ^ Ramella, Franck (2017-06-06). "Le détonnant Günter Bresnik, guide de Dominic Thiem". L'Équipe (in French). Retrieved 2017-06-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Gatto, Luigi (2017-02-27). "Gunter Bresnik: 'Thiem's schedule this month was crazy, it's my fault'". Tennis World USA. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ Gastinger, Christoph (2015-05-26). "Bresnik: "Kann diesen Patrioten-Scheiß nicht hören"". Die Presse (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Addicott, Adam (2017-02-27). "Coach Bresnik Takes Responsibility For Dominic Thiem's 'F***' Schedule". UBITENNIS. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  16. ^ Sharp, Alex (2016-06-22). "Mountain man Thiem hits new heights". Wimbledon. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Assael, Shaun (2016-05-22). "Thiem's date with Grand Slam destiny coming soon". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ a b c "Günter Bresnik – Der Beste seiner Zunft?". tennisnet.com (in German). 2016-07-03. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  19. ^ Addicott, Adam (2020-04-02). "Dominic Thiem Denies Allegation He 'Misled' Former Coach". UBITENNIS. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
  20. ^ "Günter Bresnik über Thomas Muster: "Jeder Top-100-Spieler kann profitieren"". tennisnet.com (in German). 2020-01-28. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  21. ^ Khanna, Varun (2020-03-31). "Ex-Coach Hits Out at Dominic Thiem and his Father". EssentiallySports. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  22. ^ Sharma, Aryan (2020-04-01). "Dominic Thiem Accuses Gunter Bresnik Of Exaggerating". EssentiallySports. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  23. ^ "Father explains why Dominic Thiem split with longtime coach Gunter Bresnik". Tennis World USA. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  24. ^ "Gunter Bresnik: I have made some stupid statements about Dominic Thiem". Tennis World USA. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  25. ^ "Gael Monfils hires Dominic Thiem's former coach Gunter Bresnik". 24 January 2021.
  26. ^ "Now official - Günter Bresnik is the new head coach of Gael Monfils". 25 January 2021.
  27. ^ a b Kleffmann, Gerald (2016-11-23). "Der Giacometti des Tennis". Süddeutsche.de (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ Yetis, Aras (2017-01-11). "Mühendis". Socrates Dergi (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ Bachler, Martina (2017-06-07). ""Lieber gar nicht als nicht richtig"". trend.at (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "Talent is insignificant" (PDF). Payersandplayers. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2021-01-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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