“French Open is My Big Goal”: Dominic Thiem Hints Return to Tennis Tour Despite Injury Issues

Published 04/21/2021, 10:30 PM EDT
PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Marin Cilic of Croatia in the first round of the singles competition on Court Philippe-Chatrier during the French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on September 28th 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)


Though on a self-imposed break from tennis to heal little niggles and recharge his batteries after a noticeable dip in form, Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem is still eyeing a return on clay ahead of the French Open.

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After slumping to a fourth-round loss to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov at this year’s Australian Open, the 27-year-old suffered a quarter-final defeat in Doha and a stinging opening-round exit in Dubai, raising big question marks around his form.

Dominic Thiem says Madrid and Rome will give him enough opportunities to test himself against his top rivals

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The string of unflattering returns forced Thiem into introspection and eventually took him to the calmer and scenic environs back in his homeland to reset his compass.

He skipped bulk events, including the prestigious Miami Open, the Monte-Carlo Masters, which ushered in the European claycourt season and the ongoing Barcelona Open.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 09: Dominic Thiem of Austria plays a backhand the mens singles final against Rafael Nadal of Spain during Day fifteen of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on June 09, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

To a question on whether he has had to revise the goals that he had set for himself at the beginning of the season, Thiem told a German publication that his focus remains on playing at his best at Roland-Garros.

In an earlier interview, the Austrian had said that his primary goal for this year would be to beat ‘King of Clay,’ Rafael Nadal, at the French Open.

Thiem said that he hopes to assess his game and test himself vis-à-vis his top rivals in Madrid and Rome before launching his campaign in Paris. However, he did concede that he has run up a significant gap or deficit in training due to his absence from tennis.

“The French Open is my big goal. Of course I tore up a large training gap. I haven’t had any matches against top players for a long time; I don’t know where I am. I hope that happens in Madrid and Rome,” Thiem saidHowever, he insisted that his primary aim remains the same – “to be fully competitive in Paris.”

Thiem says the evolving COVID situation will decide whether he takes part in Tokyo Olympics

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On his participation at the Tokyo Olympics, Thiem said that winning a medal of any color for his country “would be an absolute dream.”

However, the evolving COVID situation will decide whether he will travel to the Japanese capital. The reigning US Open champion said that he doesn’t want to deprive himself of the joy of playing tennis as at some point, “normality will return.”

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

860 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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