Dominic Thiem lost to Pablo Andujar in the first round of Roland Garros on Sunday. The Austrian let a two-set lead slip before going down 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 4-6.
Dominic Thiem's record at Roland Garros, and on clay in general, is remarkable. Prior to the defeat against Andujar, the 27-year-old had reached the quarterfinals, the final (twice) and the semifinals (twice) in his previous five French Open campaigns.
On Sunday, however, Thiem failed to execute his brutal brand of tennis the way he usually does in Paris. And after the match, the Austrian revealed that every aspect of his game was a little below par.
"I had no power in my strokes, a few km / h were missing on serve. And I moved badly too," Thiem said in his post-match press conference. "I don't know why, but my game is currently missing a few percent in all areas."
When asked whether his recent two-month break from competitive tennis had affected him, Thiem refused to shift the blame for his defeat on that. He claimed, instead, that he was unable to understand what was going wrong.
"Actually I'm back on the tour two months already. I also trained very hard, but unfortunately I haven't found my top form yet," Thiem continued. "I played too defensively and fell into old patterns."
"The whole thing is difficult for me to understand at the moment," he added. "I have to analyze that now and see what is currently going wrong. This today feels very confusing."
Dominic Thiem further asserted that the problems with his game have nothing to do with his mindset or his team. The 27-year-old has former Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Massu and his father Wolfgang Thiem by his side, and he believes that they will be able to help him solve the riddle.
"I don't have to smash a racket to get going. The problems are elsewhere, I have to find the right recipe first," Thiem said. "Nothing is missing with me and my coaching team. It only lacks in my matches. I will try to turn things around again as soon as possible. And the people I have around me can help me perfectly."
Dominic Thiem also hinted that he could start the grass season early. There are tournaments coming up in Stuttgart and Halle prior to the start of Wimbledon at the end of June.
"I can't say that yet," Dominic Thiem replied when asked what his next course of action is. "Now I will gather myself together and then I will consider starting the lawn season a little earlier."
"Something is different" - Dominic Thiem on how his US Open triumph continues to weigh on his mind
Dominic Thiem has been very open about his struggles with motivation and commitment following his 2020 US Open triumph. The Austrian had been a mainstay in the top 10 of the rankings for nearly five years, losing three Grand Slam finals along the way, before he had his big breakthrough at Flushing Meadows last year.
Thiem reaffirmed those thoughts while speaking to the media following his defeat against Andujar.
"I mean it is amazing to reach such a big goal," Dominic Thiem said of his US Open win. "But at the same time, something is different, and as I said before the tournament: it's a big learning process. Despite the loss which hurts so much, I still hope I can bounce back stronger than before but right now, I don't know when that moment is coming."
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