As we all are aware that Austrian men must serve six months in the army or nine months in civilian service when they reach 18. That some 22,000 men are drafted into military service each year. Those who do not want to serve must spend nine months working in community jobs, such as ambulance drivers and in senior citizens' homes.
While many athletes enjoy a variety of luxuries in life that common people find hard to reach by, exemptions from compulsory army service is unlikely to be one of those things, as Austria’s Dominic Thiem found out this past week. That he tried to avoid it but his exception was denied. Thiem said: 'I'm not a big fan of the military service. It was a pain in the a** these three, four weeks, seriously. I was privileged on this one because I'm an athlete. I only had to do four weeks, and the others have to stay six months there. He thereafter boosted his career from the ATP World Tour rising star, who enjoyed a breakthrough season on the tour, he had officially joined the Austrian military at the end of 2014, where he was enrolled in his country’s mandatory national service for six months. Thiem was born in September 1993 and grew up in Lichtenwörth, a small market town in Lower Austria, populated by around 3,000 people, with its scenic yellow-painted buildings and red roofs. Lichtenwörth was famous for not much more than its needle factory, which established in 1747 which closed in 1930. The place is just like a museum now, with Thiem the new main attraction in the town. Thiem registered his first 500 Series win in Mexico - his maiden title on the hard-court surface - before a sensational run to the French Open semi-finals, where he lost to current world No 1 Novak Djokovic, taking him to No 7 in the rankings. His second 500 Series title came in Mexico before securing his first win over a current world No 1, against Britain's Andy Murray in Barcelona, before finishing the tournament as a runner-up. With eight of his 11 career titles coming on clay, it's no secret the red dust brings out the best in him, but there was simply no stopping Nadal from registering his record-breaking 11th French Open triumph. Thiem has shown he can win on any surface and it seems that it will be a matter of when, not if, he will become Austria's second-ever Grand Slam singles champion, and the first since Thomas Muster in 1995.
By: Anuja Arora