Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem is set to feature at the Dubai Tennis Championships after six long years. The current World No.4 is the top-seeded player in the ATP event but he personally feels that his preparation this season has not been his best.
While people expected Thiem to burst through the scene after a very strong 2020 season but he has not had the best start to 2021 as he crashed out of the fourth round in the Australian Open losing to Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. He followed it up with another disappointing performance at the Qatar Open where he lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals. Therefore now he is looking to improve on it with a good performance in Dubai.
“Definitely, I’m not at the top of my game right now. Australia was pretty strange & also tough to digest in all aspects. I’m still trying to find the top of my game again. Strong tournaments like Doha & Dubai are good opportunities to get matches, to play v strong opponents,” the Austrian said at the press conference ahead of the event.
He currently holds a worrisome record of 5-3 in terms of wins and losses which is very poor for a top-five ranked player. After some rough results in 2021, Thiem needs to come back to his best at his favourite surface, clay. He will enter straight into the main draw in Dubai where he will be playing for the first time since 2015 when he lost in the first round.
The Austrian has favoured clay courts in South America as it gives him great practice heading into the clay season in the build-up to the Roland Garros. But considering several factors Thiem has decided to stay near Europe and hence has chosen the Middle-East.
“Previous five years I went to South America. It’s a little bit different this year due to all the corona restrictions and rules so I thought it may be better to stay closer to Europe.” Thiem said.
His main rival in Dubai will be Russian young sensation Andrey Rublev who has been in exceptional form. Despite losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals of the Qatar Open he went on to win the Men’s Doubles title with compatriot Aslan Karatsev. Therefore based on current form Rublev looks like the favourite over Thiem to clinch the title in Dubai.