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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday October 14, 2022

Dominic Thiem

The former World No.3 feels he is on the up and will be ready to return to his top form in 2022.

Photo Source: AP

Dominic Thiem, piece by piece, is putting his world-class tennis game back together.

The Austrian powered into his first hard court semifinal since the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals on Friday in Gijon Spain, easing past hard-hitting Argentine Francisco Cerundolo, 6-4, 6-3, to set a clash with Andrey Rublev on Saturday.

Thiem, who returned to the tour in March after a nine-month injury hiatus due to wrist and hand ailments, has been slowly but surely finding the lethal elements of his game.

This week he gave a wide-ranging interview with the Spanish publication As, and gave a full update on his comeback and how he feels about his current form.

Thiem, now 14-13 on the year, admits that it has taken a long time for him to find his forehand, the shot which depends on the wrist and hand that were injured.

“The forehand I had was gone,”he said, “from being very good to almost zero. And it took me a lot of work to get it back. I am now on a very good path.”

Thiem also believes that his backhand has improved this year because he has had to do so much more with it due to the fact that his forehand has been such a work in progress over the last few months.

“It seems to me that it improved a little in the last month, something interesting for me because, although my backhand was always a good shot, I was building the point and hitting winners all the time with the forehand,” Thiem said. “And after the injury, it didn't work. So I had to do a lot more with the backhand on my return. It was the only shot with which I could earn points. So I think that was very good and I improved it a lot.”

I Can Compete with the Best Again

Thiem is already up 33 spots in the live rankings to 132, and the 29-year-old could return to the Top-100 if he comes away with the title (he faces Andrey Rublev in the semifinals on Saturday).

The Austrian is now finding his confidence and believes that he can get back to the top of the game, perhaps even next season.

He says that he has felt that way since the summer, when he reached the semifinals on the clay in Bastad.

“Since Bastad, I have the feeling that I can compete with the best again,” he said. “I feel like I'm ready for these tournaments. In the end, you have to be careful when choosing where to use the protected ranking.”

Asked if he sees himself fighting for Slam titles in the future, Thiem says he has the belief.

“I have the belief that I can do it. If not, I would give up my career,’ he said. “I was at the top, among the top three in the ranking. And I do have the feeling that I am capable of fighting again for the big titles, for the Slams, and to beat anyone. Otherwise, all this hard work would be meaningless to me. I hope next year I can do it.”

The Beginning of Part 2 of the Thiem Career

Thiem says that in many ways he feels like he is starting the second phase of his career.

“These are different times,” he said. “My career is divided into the first part, which was before the injury, and the second, which is now, and the first part was incredible. I was able to beat all the best, win many tournaments, even a Grand Slam. And then the injury came and my trajectory stopped.

“Now it's a very interesting experience, because I have to be able to compete with all the top players again and that's good. Obviously the matches and the wins against Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are helping me, because they were a great experience.”


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