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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday May 4, 2021

Different approach, same devastating Dominic Thiem.

The 27-year-old Austrian made his long awaited clay-court debut on Tuesday at the Madrid Open, and blew the doors off 91st-ranked American qualifier Marcos Giron, 6-1, 6-3 in 53 minutes.

Tennis Express

It was a dominant display from start to finish for the World No.4, who cracked 20 winners against 14 unforced errors and never faced a break point.

“Didn’t play a match for a long time, but it felt great to be back on this court where I had some amazing experiences in the past,” Thiem said. “I’m really happy also about the way I played, because I faced an opponent who won three matches already, and me coming back from a longer break.”

Thiem, who will face Australia’s Alex de Minaur in third-round action at Madrid, says his six-week hiatus was helpful in terms of helping him get refreshed and into a mindset where he felt ready to bring his highest intensity to the practice and match court.

“Every player and every character is different,” Thiem told reporters. “But me, for my game, I need 100 percent intensity and 100 percent energy. I'm not the guy who can serve through a match or who can play with a little bit intensity and is still winning. You know, I'm just not that type of guy. I need 100 percent in every aspect of my game.”

Thiem, who made headlines a month ago when he gave an interview to Austrian publication Der Standard in which he talked about burnout and needing time away from tennis, talked about the ways the break is helping him as he makes his return to the clay.

He said that in February and March, he was stunted. Unable to put his maximum intensity into his tennis, whether it was because of physical or mental fatigue, or both. Today in Madrid he said he feels refreshed and ready to dive in fully to his mission.

“I was just not able to put that on court like in Doha, Dubai, or towards the end of the Australian Open, so that's why it was better to take a break. Better to come back when it's possible again to play with that 100 percent in every aspect of my game,” he said, and hinted that he plans to play less in the future as well. “That's also the goal for the future, no, to really play only tournaments where I'm ready 100 percent to compete.”

Today’s victory is great news for Thiem and his quest to win the Roland-Garros title, something that he has stated as his greatest remaining goal. Today, he reiterated the importance of Roland-Garros in his mind, while at the same time admitting that he didn’t have many expectations for this week in Madrid, even though he is a two-time finalist at the event.

“There were times in March where I was really feeling bad in general,” he said. “Even then, I mean, I had in the back of my head the big goal of Roland Garros. That's still where my expectations are very high about. That's where I want to be at the top of my game again. Here in Madrid, honestly two weeks ago I was not sure if I'm playing here, so the expectations are still super low. A win like today is already a big success, because I get a chance to play another match in a top level, so that will help me again for the next weeks.”


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