Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have backed up Dominic Thiem to return to the top of tennis. Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, was sidelined for 10 months due to a wrist injury before returning to tennis in 2022 March.
A year and a half has passed since Thiem returned to tennis but he has yet to rediscover the form that was once making him one of the best players in the game. Thiem, a former world No 3, hasn't won any titles since returning and today he is ranked at No 99 in the world.
This week, Thiem competed in Vienna, where he won the title in 2019. Unfortunately for Thiem and all Austrian fans, the 30-year-old's Vienna run was short-lived after world No 7 Tsitsipas beat the Austrian 7-6 (5) 6-4 in the first round. "He hit the balls very well, moved well, and let me run.
I had to fight for every point, it wasn't easy. The next year will be better for him than this one," Tsitsipas said after beating Thiem. Zverev, who was beaten by Thiem in the 2020 US Open final, also believes the Austrian can return to his old level. "In my opinion, he has to beat really big players once or twice again, then it can happen again quickly.
He's good enough to get back up," Zverev said of Thiem.
Thiem competed well against Tsitsipas
The first set between Thiem and Tsitsipas was a very tight set contest as the opener went into a tie-break after not a single break point was seen.
In the first-set tie-break, the two players were tied to five points apiece before Tsitsipas won two consecutive points to clinch a very tight opener. After winning the first set, Tsitsipas saved three break points in the second game of the second set before claiming the first break of the match in the third game.
Tsitsipas missed out on three break points in the fifth game which could have given him a double-break lead - but it didn't change much since the Greek held on to his first break to complete a two-set win. Thiem may have lost the match but it was still positive for him that he was able to compete extremely well against a top-10 player.