World No. 15 Dominic Thiem admtited that his expectations for the Australian Open are "not the highest" following his withdrawal from the Mubadala World Tennis Championships. Thiem, who suffered a season-ending wrist surgery in June, was hoping to make his return to competitive action this week but he decided the best move would be to give himself a bit more time before returning to action.
“Of course I would have loved to play, but it was clear that it would be close,” said Thiem, per Tennis365. “My whole process is going according to plan, I am absolutely pain-free, just lagging behind in punch training.
“Experience has shown that everyone plays at full capacity in Abu Dhabi. But I’m not ready for such matches yet, only face it when my forehand is at 100 percent. At the moment it is only 80 percent. “I will train here in Dubai for another week and fly to Sydney on December 22nd.
I will spend Christmas and New Year there, train a lot and then hopefully play at the ATP Cup."
Thiem could play an ATP event before the Australian Open
Melbourne Park will host ATP and WTA events leading up to the Australian Open and the Austrian could play there to gain some matches under his belt before the opening Grand Slam of the season.
Thiem's best result at Melbourne Park came in 2020, when he ended runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the final. “I might also play an ATP250 tournament before the Australian Open. But that depends on my development and the question of whether I still need match practice.
But it’s also clear that I would play Melbourne even if I couldn’t play a single match beforehand," Thiem added. “It’s the first time I’ve had such a long break. Therefore, my expectations for Australia are not the highest.
I have to see what it’s like to play matches against the best of the best again. I am assuming that I will only be able to play my way deeper into the tournaments again in the course of the year”.