It was not a particularly happy start to 2021 for world number 4 Dominic Thiem, far from it. In the ATP Cup he lost in two sets against our Matteo Berrettini and then retired in the match against the French Benoit Paire, after winning the first set 6-1.
At the Australian Open in Melbourne, where he was supposed to defend last year's final, he lost in the fourth round to Grigor Dimitrov in three halves, with the clear score of 6-4 6-4 6-0. In Doha, where he occupied the first position in seeding, Thiem hardly overtook Aslan Karatsev before going out against Roberto Bautista Agut.
The Austrian will now participate in the prestigious event in Dubai, where he will challenge the winner between Christopher O'Connell and Lloyd Harrys in the second round. Dominic Thiem recently spoke to the media ahead of the start of the 2021 Dubai Tennis Championships.
Thiem touched upon several topics, including the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal at the French Open, and also explained why he thinks his US Open triumph deserves full credit.
Thiem talks about Rafael Nadal
According to Dominic Thiem, even if you are absolutely flawless against Rafael Nadal at the French Open, you still need to hope that the Spaniard lowers his level.
"I mean, it's just one of the most difficult things to do in tennis; in sports in general," Thiem said about beating Nadal at the French Open. "So I think everything needs to be perfect on that one day. And I think the only way is to improve in general to work to improve all aspects of the game.
To play the perfect claycourt tennis, now that's the only chance," the Austrian added. "But even then, I think it's it's not in my hands; it's still in his, (so we have) to hope that he has not the best day.
So I think there's so many things which need to work to have a chance there." Dominic Thiem’s foot has been a real source of trouble for the 27-year-old in the last few months. "Yeah, of course, I mean, on hardcourt, it's a little bit worse, as, on clay," Thiem stated.
"I can slide it out. And it's, it's a way softer surface. But I mean, I'm, I have a little bit of pain there since many, many years, actually, since a very young age. And that's why it's not bothering me too much.
Sometimes it's worse, sometimes it's better," the Austrian added. "But as of now, it's doesn't look like it's gonna be a bigger issue. And I hope it's gonna stay like that."