Dominic Thiem Admits to Being Underprepared But Talks Up French Open 2021 Chances

Published 05/20/2021, 6:39 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 4, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem celebrates after winning his round of 32 match against Marcos Giron of the U.S. REUTERS/Sergio Perez


Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem has conceded to being a bit undercooked as compared to last year.

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Speaking to reporters before launching his campaign at the Lyon clay court championship against Englishman Cameron Norrie on Thursday, Thiem said that his off-season preparation for this year wasn’t the same as it was for the previous year.

Dominic Thiem says his off-season prep was worse than last year’s

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The current World No. 3 said that he was confident that he was still in a good space to play for the title at Roland-Garros. “If I compare my preparation this year to the previous years, it’s definitely a little worse this year, don’t need to lie about that,” Thiem said.

Coming into this year’s Australian Open on the back of his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2020, the 27-year-old Austrian fell in the fourth round after raising visions of his second straight Major win with a stunning, nervy, come-from-behind win against Nick Kyrgios.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Madrid Open – Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain – May 7, 2021 Austria’s Dominic Thiem in action during his quarter final match against John Isner of the U.S. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Far from repeating the heroics in his fourth-round clash against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Thiem went down in straight sets to crash out of the year’s first Slam.

He followed up with early exits in Doha and Dubai. With the unflattering performances seemingly weighing heavy on his mind, the Austrian took an extended break from the Tour to rest and recover from niggles and rediscover his appetite for titles.

The seven-week hiatus at home seemed to have done its trick as the 18-time Tour champion marked his return to the competitive field with a run to the semifinals in Madrid.

Thiem says he hopes to go deep at the French Open

Though he lost his last-four bout in the Spanish capital against eventual champion Alexander Zverev, Thiem took his renewed confidence and belief into Rome.

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Why Dominic Thiem Is Known as ‘Prince of Clay’?

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He lost a close quarter-final to crowd favorite Lorenzo Sonego but the confidence and match time gained from the twin campaigns have given him the belief that he is still in with a good chance to reach his primary goal this season – beating Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros.

“I still see my chances to play well (at the French Open) and hopefully work myself into the tournament,” Thiem told reporters.

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If he can follow up on his strong runs in Madrid and Rome with a title win in the French city, the Austrian will surely take a further leap in self-belief and fancy his chances of taking down the ‘King of Clay’ on his stomping ground.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1010 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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