Dominic Thiem admits his motivation levels have not been the same since winning the 2020 US Open – but he still believes he can rediscover his best form.
Thiem, 29, looked primed to contend for more big titles when he came from two sets down to beat Alexander Zverev in the final in New York.
That was his fourth major final, and he said at the time he hoped the breakthrough would make it “easier” to challenge for further Grand Slams.
‘Grand Slam titles should be defining criteria’ – Thiem has say on GOAT debate
YESTERDAY AT 12:09
But it hasn’t worked out that way for Thiem.
His form went downhill at the start of 2021, and last year he dropped out of the top 300 as he looked to recover from a wrist injury.
While he has shown some signs of improvement, it still looks a long way back for the former world No. 3, who has opened up on how winning the US Open changed him.
“But we’ve already talked about that. I don’t want to blame myself for that.
“There are players who celebrate great success who are spurred on by that, who are pushed even further to perform even better, who are immediately on fire to win the next Grand Slam title. It wasn’t like that for me, I’m a different guy.
“It took me a while before I accepted that, that I’m a bit harder on myself than some others. What I certainly also had to learn is that it is only up to me and I have to regulate it myself.”
Currently ranked at No. 96 in the world, Thiem says he still has the belief that he can get back to a strong level.
“It’s still there. Even if it should only be there very small, it is there, and I’m sure it will get bigger again. When it’s gone, I won’t be sitting here anymore, I would stop and live a different life. But the belief is definitely there. The only thing I can do is keep working and training.
“It’s a difficult situation, definitely. It’s not always easy for me, which has been the last year and a half since the US Open.
“What I have to do, like today, is give everything, fight hard from the first to the last ball. Then I definitely have a chance of getting back to a very good level. This is also the only chance.”
“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” said Thiem.
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same,” he said of non-major tournaments. “The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”
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