Dominic Thiem was ruled out of nearly half of the 2021 season after suffering a wrist injury at the ATP 250 event in Mallorca. It was already a disappointing year for Thiem, with multiple mental and physical issues leading to a win-loss record of 9-9, but now it seems there's a chance things could get even worse.
The 28-year-old recently revealed that he would be undergoing a stress test on 4 October, a week after his wrist splint comes off. If the test does not go well, he may have to get surgery and spend an extended period on the sidelines - until February or March 2022.
In a recent interview, Dominic Thiem claimed there is a 40% chance that he may need surgery.
"In 4 days, I will take the splint off. I'll use my wrist as normally as possible for a week. On the 4th of October, I'll have heavy wrist tests. If the ligament remains stable, I'll start playing tennis. If it pops out again I'll have to have surgery," Dominic Thiem said. "Chances are 60/40."
Dominic Thiem in need of a much improved 2022 season
Dominic Thiem's fortunes have been on the downslide ever since he won the 2020 US Open. Although he reached the final of the ATP Finals for the second consecutive year, the Austrian has had a string of early exits since then - including a first-round defeat at Roland Garros.
Thiem dropped a two-set lead against Spaniard Pablo Andujar in Paris. That was the nadir of his clay season, which had seen him exit the Rome Masters in the third round and the Lyon 250 at the very first hurdle.
Dominic Thiem cited a number of reasons for his 2021 struggles. The Austrian claimed he had felt a lack of motivation after realizing his dream of winning a Slam, and also that a series of injuries in his foot and hamstring had kept him from achieving full match fitness.
Needless to say, Dominic Thiem would be eager to turn the tide quickly. The 28-year-old has been a mainstay at the top of the sport for a long time, having qualified for the ATP Finals in five consecutive years, but now he is in danger of falling out of the top 20.
Thiem had played 26 Majors in a row, but missing the Australian Open next year - after skipping Wimbledon and US Open in 2021 - would mean he'd miss three in a row for the first time in his professional career.
The Austrian had claimed he had started playing well prior to the injury. He will be hoping that he is able to get back to that same level when he hits the courts next year, whenever that happens.