The ATP Challenger Tour forms the basis for tennis players from the extended world top to conquer valuable points for the world rankings and improve their ranking. However, today, the reception at Mirabell Castle was all about the comeback of Dominic Thiem, who appeared with his brother Moritz and manager Galo Blanco.
The US Open winner in 2020 seemed cautious and a little shy, after the training week in Barcelona with Rublev. However, he claimed that he is a lot further and better prepared than before. He tends to avoid the question of expectations and states that the first aim is to win the first match.
After seven defeats at the start, the first win should follow against the Styrian Misolic. The former US Open winner has already slipped to position 346 in the world rankings. Misolic is currently in 210th place and the third-best ÖTV player in the ATP ranking, behind Jurij Rodionov and Dennis Novak.
The 1 million dollar question is if Thiem´s wrist, which was injured in June last year, is fully recovered. The two times French Open finalist says that he feels ready to play. Thiem´s big ultimate goal is of course to celebrate a victory in Salzburg.
However, the draw is powerful and Thiem has to take out names like Fernando Verdasco, Gilles Simon, and others. The team around tournament director Gerald Mandl hopes that Thiem will find his top form in the Mozart-City Salzburg and of course that his forehand will inspire and overwhelm the crowd on the courts of the classic 1st Tennisclub Salzburg.
Let's see if Thiem can damage his opponents like he used to do. Nevertheless, the Austrian tennis community is holding their fingers crossed. Now, Thiem has full attention on the match on Tuesday (6 p.m.). Directly after the MyStaff ATP Challenger in Salzburg, Thiem takes off to Båstad (Sweden) and Gstaad (Switzerland) tournaments before returning to Kitzbühel. More reports soon from Andreas Du-Rieux during the week!