Marbella, Belgrade, Estoril and Madrid. Dominic Thiem suffered a defeat in his first four games after his return. After his ten-month injury break in Rome at the Masters 1000 tournament, the fifth station now follows. Of course, the expectations of the 28-year-old from Lower Austria are still reserved for the appearance in the “Foro Italico”. If you can’t do your job for ten months, everyone is rusty,” Thiem repeated earlier statements in an interview with Ö3.
Thiem recently attended the Champions League semifinals in Madrid and was there live at the stadium. The Lichtenwörther has already completed his first training sessions. In an interview, the 2020 US Open winner spoke about his status quo and his level of frustration. “Of course it’s difficult because every shot that misses, it immediately comes to my mind how I would have played the shot before the injury or at my best. There’s still such a big difference that it’s extremely difficult to accept,” admitted Dominic Thiem.
But the daily improvements are the most important thing. Thiem no longer feels a mental barrier because of his injury. “The head thing is actually over now, and the fear that something could be in the wrist is completely gone. But sometimes I play good points and the last shot starves in the net or is three meters out, it’s definitely extremely frustrating.”
In any case, one thing is certain: Dominic Thiem will drop out of the top 100 for the first time since March 2014 on Monday. Thiem is not shocked at all. “It was absolutely clear that this would happen at some point. It’s the logical consequence of how the ranking works.” He does not know how long he was number 1 in Austria. “But it’s good that it’s going to be someone else,” joked Thiem. If you talk about having to relearn the “ABC” so to speak after such long injuries, then the 17-time ATP tournament winner doesn’t see himself very far. “I’m at D like Dominic I would say. It’s not just the forehand, it’s also about how I make the points, how I move, how I anticipate, how I assess tight situations. But that’s clear anyway.”
Superstar Rafael Nadal also believes in Thiem’s return and protects Austria’s number one. The Spaniard made a fairytale comeback after his injury break with the title at the Australian Open. “It’s not the moment to put pressure on Dominic, nor is it fair to compare him to me,” said the 21-time Major winner recently in Madrid. It is true that it was something special in his career that he was able to come back many times. “But it’s not something normal when you come back from a long time without matches. It’s normal that it’s a process and Dominic is going through that now.”
In any case, the Spaniard is counting on Thiem in the future: “I have no doubt that if he is healthy, he will come back next week, at Roland Garros and if not at Wimbledon or after. It’s about time,” stressed Nadal. If Thiem really has the determination and passion to continue, then he has no doubt that Thiem will return to his former level.