RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Dominic Thiem is once again fighting through his matches and enjoying himself, but confidence is admittedly still lacking for the 29-year-old.
Thiem lost in the first round of the Rio Open on Monday, falling to Thiago Monteiro 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (2).
The former world number three and 2020 US Open champion, who came in ranked at number 96 after battling right wrist and abdominal injuries, fell to 1-2 on the year. He missed the Australian Open and got his first win last week at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“I was not convinced enough. It is a so-so leg of confidence. A leg of one match this year,” Thiem said. “Today was a little bit better than I did in Buenos Aires. But still when I step in it is too many mistakes. I need to find the right timing again, find myself closer at the baseline again.”
Thiem, who won the Rio Open in 2017, dropped the first set against the 83rd-ranked Monteiro in 27 minutes, with the Austrian making a series of unforced errors.
Thiem righted himself in the second set, relying on his forehand and his patience on the baseline. After a back-and-forth third set, the Brazilian won the tiebreaker comfortably to close out the two-hour, 46-minute match.
“I was never injured before. I didn’t know how long it would take. It is taking as long as it takes. I am not stressing out,” Thiem said. “I have the feeling I was defining myself way too long with results. It is very unhealthy, especially mentally, if I define myself only with results.”