“He flattens his shot out much more. Before he was a complete clay-court player – a lot of movement, a lot of running around, stuff like that,” Zverev said after his semifinal defeat.
“Now he has a complete hard-court game, which he can play on clay.
“Of course, he still plays the old way. On hard court, he’s a much different and much better player … He’s playing the best tennis of his life.
“Yeah, I do believe that he has a chance. I do believe he’s playing good enough.”
Looking to become the first player outside the Big Three to win a major since Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 US Open, Thiem would also become only the second man after Wawrinka to break the Big Three’s grip on the Australian Open in 15 years.
The appointment of former Chilean player Nicolas Massu has helped transform the Austrian from a predictable baseliner to a more aggressive all-court competitor.
Massu said Thiem, having appeared in two Grand Slam finals already in Paris, would not be overawed by Sunday’s occasion.
“Every time you play important matches like a final of a Slam, you get more experience,” Massu said.
“It doesn’t matter sometimes which Slam because the surface changes, but the experience is that you go on court, you play against the best players in the world. I think he arrives with a lot of confidence.
“It’s a big motivation to beat players like Nadal, No.1 in the world, in the centre court in a Slam.
“Always make you so happy because you work for this … Everyone knows that is difficult to play against Nole because he’s [an] unbelievable player. But if Dominic is in the final, is because he deserves it.”