Depuis son retour, Dominic Thiem vit une véritable descente aux enfers.

Tennis: Dominic Thiem, champion in total ruin


The two-time Roland Garros finalist, who has been eliminated for the seventh time since returning at the end of March, does not yet see the end of the tunnel. “My nervousness is poison for my forehand,” he admits.

Dominic Thiem has experienced a veritable descent into hell since his return.

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Two months have passed. But from Marbella to Paris, nothing has changed for Dominic Thiem. Or so little. Under a tree perched over one of the fields of the Andalusian tennis club Puente Romano, at the end of March you could already see that wild hair and that sunken look through the fence cursing this forehand that maybe will never be left the same as before . As in southern Spain, where he also celebrated his comeback, Stan Wawrinka was still on the other side of the net during training in Roland-Garros on Friday. You had to see the Austrian talking to himself while his coach Nicolas Massu seemed concerned. Needless to say, Sunday didn’t calm him down…

Infinite sadness

There was something terrible, but above all, infinite sadness, to see a champion of his caliber wander like a lost soul on a shattered brick where he has shone so much in the recent past – two-time finalist in 2018 and 2019, only defeated by Rafael Nadal. Misty as the Paris sky, Thiem spent the two hours of his meeting against methodical Bolivian player Hugo Dellien, who was damn efficient at setting up exchanges (6-3 6-2 6-4) to bow his head, eyes open directed to the ground. Driven by the songs in his name by the spectators of Simone Mathieu’s idyllic court, he never got carried away. As if his tennis were gone from yesterday, the heart wasn’t really there anymore.

Since realizing his ambitions at Flushing Meadows, the 2020 US Open champion has seen his motivation soar and become the shadow of the ‘Dominator’ – nickname given to him in reference to his compatriot Thomas Muster (musterminator), winner of Roland -Garros, was given in 1995. “I find myself a bit in what he’s going through since I experienced that emptiness myself after two of my seven Grand Slam victories,” explained Mats Wilander, z Eurosport, twelve months ago. you proved something And I can’t imagine what it’s like to win your first major title at 26 or 27. (Note: he won the first one at 17). Dominic has waited so long.”

“The first games after a long absence are very valuable”

Rafael Nadal in Madrid

The two are closely linked and after the head, the Austrian’s body gave way. Absent from the racetrack since June last year due to a longer-than-expected injury to his right wrist – his former coach would have made him pick up the racquet too soon – Thiem is now chasing lost time. Unlike Stan Wawrinka, who specifically aimed for certain tournaments and combined this with training blocks, the Austrian decided to hold the events, convinced that his return to the highest level can only be achieved through a maximum of games. From Marbella he lost them all (Note: seven)never had a say – he only won one set in Belgrade against Millman.

“The first games after a long absence have a very great value,” declared Rafael Nadal at the end of his victorious return to Madrid, who returned to the competition after breaking a rib at the end of the American tour. If you earn them, you can find the rhythm. If you lose too much in a row, you get caught in a negative cycle.” Thiem is right in the middle, caught in the whirlwind of defeat. To try to bring back a largely depleted trust capital, he will resort to coal in the Challenger category. “I’m really thinking about it, for a tournament or two,” he admitted. Of course, a win would help me a lot, but if I’m honest with myself, I’m still a long way from it.

“Mental coach or sports psychologist? I am open for everything”

Dominik Thiem

Eyes in the blur in front of the journalists, the ex no strength in my shots and not just on the forehand. My first serve percentage is too low and they don’t hurt. My backhand is fine, even if it stays too flat and fast, he noted with accuracy. Sometimes I also make stupid decisions in the rally, try to drop the ball – like the one that landed behind the baseline (!) to concede the break at the beginning of the 2nd set – or the longline winner in the bad time . It will take some time for things to get back to normal.”

When he claims to “have no physical issues” or “have not made any voluntary technical adjustments” in his forehand racquet grip to take pressure off his wrist, Thiem seems aware that his biggest project is tucked away in his brain cavity. “Should I consult a mental coach or a sports psychologist? I am open for everything. But I’ve never needed it because I’ve never been in this situation before, he noted. I have neither mental problems with my forehand nor fear. My concern is that he’s pretty decent in training while it’s very different in games. At the moment my nervousness is poison for my forehand.”

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