Dominic Thiem attained a professional peak winning his maiden major at the 2020 US Open.
That Grand Slam triumph precipitated a major fall.
The 27-year-old Thiem confesses after doggedly pursuing a Grand Slam title for 15 years he fell “into a hole” and struggled to find motivation training for the 2021 season.
“I chased the big goal for 15 years without looking left or right. Like I said, I achieved it—under weird circumstances, but that’s not that important to me,” Thiem told Der Standard in a new intervew. “In a way, some things fell by the wayside—private life, dealing with other things, broadening your horizons.
“You have to do something for your head, for your brain. There was only tennis. I want to change that a bit. After that I was in a euphoria, the results were still right, I was in the final of the ATP finals in London. But I fell into a hole in preparation for this season. We’ll see if the looseness will come, I don’t know, I hope so.”
The fourth-ranked Austrian showed familiar fighting spirit rallying from two sets down to defeat Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open, but admits he came up emotionally empty in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 AO loss to Grigor Dimitrov in his next match.
“It was a lot of effort for relatively little reward,” Thiem said. “I’m playing one of the most memorable matches in my life against local hero Kyrgios, I’m getting 2-0 down. The atmosphere in Melbourne was amazing, even though people didn’t stand by me. And suddenly there was lockdown.
“I came into the locker room late at night, sweaty, and the facility was evacuated in the meantime—like a nuclear accident. The day after next against Dimitrov there was extreme midday heat in the loneliness. I didn’t manage to push that through, to deal with the situation.”
The two-time Roland Garros runner-up says winning his first French Open title and earning a medal for Austria at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games are his primary goals.
“The French Open is my big goal,” Thiem told Der Standard. “Of course, I tore up a large training gap. I haven’t had any matches against top players for a long time, they are missing. I don’t know where I am I hope that happens in Madrid and Rome.
“I want to be fully competitive in Paris, that’s my aim. A medal at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo would be an absolute dream
—if it happens. I would like to know, but the pandemic will decide. In any case, I won’t let the pleasure of tennis be taken away from me. Because at some point normality will return.”
Photo credit: Tennis Australia