The Lower Austrian is now holding onto just one win this year, won in Buenos Aires in mid-February. Since then there have been four opening defeats in a row, this year he has already left a tournament six times without a sense of achievement. Thiem also seems a bit at a loss as to how to flip the switch: “Since I came from South America to (North, note) America, I’ve trained well and consistently. I make sure that I continue to train like this, also in terms of fitness – especially for clay, where that’s important.”
Because now the 29-year-old is entering the clay court season, starting at the 250 event in Estoril the week after next. Thiem’s goal at the beginning of the season was to get a placement for the French Open, which starts at the end of May, but at the moment he would not even be in the main competition for this Grand Slam event. Apparently, the Lichtenwörther does not necessarily dare to get the necessary points at a high ATP level – he is therefore considering a temporary evasion at challenger level.
Thiem is missing important points
The April alternative Monte Carlo already poses an increased risk for Thiem of going completely empty again. Austria’s number one is also aware of this: “There are only players like Sonego waiting, who get their top level week after week, which I’m not able to do at the moment. Maybe it’s too difficult at that level for me to win a few matches. ”So he has to seriously consider the Challenger variant. It could be that he plays in Split instead of Monte Carlo. “Split would be a good option to gain match practice. After that, Munich is planned. “Everything else will be decided first.”
Rome also falls into this period. In May 2021, Thiem had his last win at the highest ATP level in Italy’s capital. His last match win in Grand Slam tournaments so far was at the Australian Open 2021, after which there was also a start-out in Roland Garros before the wrist injury. Thiem’s comeback will be celebrated for the first time on Wednesday. After his return to the international stage last year, he was still slightly positive with 18 wins and 16 defeats, this year it is 1:8.
“Nobody can help me on the pitch”
The chance of a win seemed great against Sonego, who hadn’t started the game with an excellent record for the year either. Like Thiem, the 27-year-old had five first-round defeats in 2023, but 30 unforced errors with only 13 winners by the Austrian came in handy. After a balanced first set, a loss of concentration that led to a 0: 4 in the second set initiated Thiem’s defeat. “These holes are just not good,” said the loser.
However, Thiem does not seem to like the idea of mental care very much. “Of course, a little help is always good, but in the end I have to sort it out myself. I’m also on the pitch myself, I’m alone outside,” he explained. “On the court, in the match, nobody can help me. I have to see that I can get this under control. It also lacks self-confidence. I have to make sure I get that back. Maybe there will be a bigger win and I can manage to untie the knot a bit.”
ATP 1000 Tournament in Miami
(US, $10.16M, hard)