Dominic Thiem says he is still searching for form as he attempts to ramp up his French Open preparations this week.
Thiem was a defeated finalist at Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, losing both to Rafael Nadal.
Last year he struggled with exhaustion after winning the US Open just two weeks before, and crashed out in the last eight, and his general form has not been great since.
However, he still considers clay to be his best surface, and he is keen to find his best tennis before Paris.
“I am still trying to find my form,” Thiem said. “I’m not playing as well as I did in 2019 when I played my best tennis, or as good as in 2018.
“But I am a better player now. I will try and practise well and work hard in Lyon, then work myself into the tournament.
“My preparation hasn’t been ideal this year, I won’t lie about that. But I am certain I will play well there.”
Thiem has struggled to find rhythm so far this clay season but showed some promising signs in Madrid and Rome in the last two weeks.
“Madrid and Rome were good steps in the right directions, with the semi-finals [in Madrid] and a loss to Lorenzo Sonego [in Rome] in three hours and 20 minutes.
“I liked the way I played there and I hope I can take this positive direction into Lyon and get some matches.
Despite this promising signs, though, Thiem is well aware of what he needs to improve, and it is not a short list.
“In Madrid and Rome there was some per cent missing in my shots,” he added.
“My first serve wasn’t doing enough damage and when I had an easy forehand, I wasn’t hitting in the right direction or placement.
“The transitions from offence to defence weren’t good. To go really deep in tournaments, I need to improve these areas of the game and I intend to do so in Lyon this week.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?