World number four Dominic Thiem is close to being pain free and is 'back to playing really well in practice,' he has revealed.
Thiem has looked a shadow of his usual self on the ATP Tour this year after winning the US Open last September.
He has been open about much of that has been down to having a small drop in his motivation after achieving a career-long goal of becoming a Grand Slam champion.
However, a knee injury has also played its part, and it was that which kept him out of Monte-Carlo and Belgrade this month.
He, though, says he is close to returning in Madrid next week, and he feels he is close to putting himself into a position to play his best tennis again.
"In general it's getting better day by day," Thiem told ORF, "so hopefully it will be pain free by Madrid, Rome and of course Paris."
"I was actually positively surprised how quickly it all worked, as I did very little for three weeks," Dominic Thiem said. "Of course, I felt it the first few days.
"It was really hard. My whole body hurt, the strokes didn't work. But after a few intensive long training days, it came back really quickly.
"I'm back to playing really well in practice, I'm moving well.
"Physically, of course, I had lost a bit of strength because I didn't do anything for a while, but as soon as I was really motivated again, it came back really fast."
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