Dominic Thiem was forced to withdraw from the US Open and end his 2021 season due to a wrist injury he suffered at an ATP 250 event in Mallorca. And although the Austrian hopes the injury will heal with time, he knows there is a chance he may require surgery.
Speaking during the 'Red Bull Thiem, Set, Match' event started by him in his home country, Dominic Thiem claimed that many players - including Rafael Nadal - have suffered similar wrist injuries in the past. The doctors have informed Thiem that surgery is a possibility if the wrist doesn't heal on its own, but the 27-year-old is confident that that wouldn't be a huge setback either.
"Nadal had the same thing in 2016, Nishikori had the same, and so did Bencic. The doctors have said that if it heals properly, it is not a problem," Thiem was quoted as telling APA by Kleine Zeitung.
"If things don't go as planned, the chance (to get surgery) is already there, but it wouldn't be a mishap either," he added. "It would simply increase the time until I can be back on the pitch. If it really comes to the surgery, it will take a month or two longer. But it would be an operation that many players have already done and it is not a bad thing in terms of the future."
Dominic Thiem also spoke about the "clarity" that has come with the latest diagnosis from his doctors. The Austrian did admit, however, that since he has no experience with injuries like this he became a little too greedy with his comeback efforts.
"Now I'm actually better than before because there is now complete clarity," he said. "I now have a precise timetable for what the next weeks and months will look like."
"The US Open and the rest of the season was in the back of my mind and I really wanted to do it," he added. "It just came too early, I paid a little the price for not having any experience with injuries like this. I wanted a little too early too much."
Dominic Thiem, the defending champion at the US Open, went on to predict that Novak Djokovic will replace him as the title-holder over the next few weeks. Djokovic is vying for the Calendar Grand Slam after having won the first three Majors of the year, and Thiem believes the Serb will not let go of the opportunity.
"I think Djokovic will do it," Thiem said. "Because of the Grand Slam - he has such an incredible will and because it is a chance of the century to win the Grand Slam. I think he won't miss the chance."
Dominic Thiem says "it hurts" to miss Davis Cup group stage in Austria
Dominic Thiem has had an underwhelming 2021 season, where his best result was a semifinal finish at the Madrid Masters. To add salt to his wounds, he will now be unable to defend the two biggest titles of his career at the US Open and Indian Wells.
But the 27-year-old claimed that missing the group stage of the Davis Cup against Serbia and Germany, to be held in Innsbruck, is the biggest loss of all.
"It all hurts. The Davis Cup hurts the most, it is perhaps the only time for such a great home Davis Cup," Thiem said. "Of course missing Vienna is bitter, but I will definitely play that a few more times. But how often such a home Davis Cup will be against Serbia and Germany - maybe never again."
During the course of the interview, Dominic Thiem spoke in detail about his mental health in the aftermath of the injury. The 27-year-old claimed he is not too disappointed or upset since he believes his body has done everything it could over the last few years.
"Now actually good, also because I have in the back of my mind that I have asked everything from the body in recent years anyway," Thiem said. "It never really let me down, I trained fully and never had anything. Everything fits with the body, now an injury for the first time. Bad luck, but it can also be because of the endless number of blows."
Thiem also believes this is just the halfway point of his career, and that he has a lot of "good years" left.
"I see it a bit as halfway through my career," the Austrian said. "The last six years have been unbelievable, better than I ever dreamed of. Now a bad year, and I hope that there will be six or seven good years to come."
Dominic Thiem went on to speak about his hunger and motivation to compete, which he felt had returned just befote the injury struck.
"Actually, the hunger came back exactly when the injury happened (to compete)," Thiem said. "Often you don't say it before the tournament, but before Paris I noticed that I really played sh*t in training and that it will be difficult to get far there. I played really well before Mallorca and the hunger came back and then the injury happened."