Dominic Thiem continues his slow return to tennis at the Estoril Open this week but admits he is still a long way from being at his best.
Thiem won his first Grand Slam at the 2020 US Open and was tipped to take more titles, but was hit with a wrist injury in 2021 which plagued most of his season.
After losing three first round matches in Lyon, Roland Garros and Mallorca in Summer 2021 Thiem took an eight month break from the sport and made a return to the ATP tour in March 2022.
And although his return has seen two first round losses so far in Marbella and Belgrade, Thiem will play at the Estoril Open this week and seems optimistic about his progress.
"I feel much better already than Belgrade. The improvement is there every single day,” said Thiem.
“In practice points I’m still having troubles — not with the wrist, the wrist is fine also in points — but [in] all the movement, all the reaction, all the anticipation, I’m still not 100 per cent yet.
"It will take many more matches until I’m back at the top level there. So I’m not feeling capable of winning this tournament," he admitted.
“But every match is super important for me now. I’m going to try my best, I’m going to fight 100 per cent from the first to the last point, even when I’m not playing my best tennis, which can happen. And that’s it.
"I have low expectations this week and also the next ones to come. But obviously I’m trying everything to win and I’m going to see what comes out at the end.”
Thiem is hoping to be in a much better position by the French Open, a tournament he has twice reached the final of, and although another title seems a long way off, he is still hoping he can make an impact.
“The first short-term goal to be in a decent shape again is the French Open," said Thiem.
"I’m definitely not going to be a favourite there, but maybe I can win some matches there and if I face a top opponent, maybe I can give him a hard match.
"That’s the short-term goal. To make big things, I think I’m going to have to wait until the second part of the season.”
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