It’s less than a month and counting as the timeline ticks down for Dominic Thiem’s full-blown return to tennis.

The reigning US Open champion and world No. 4 got off to a rough start in 2021, exiting in the Australian Open fourth round and producing indifferent showings at Doha and Dubai.

After his first-quarter debacle, the 27-year-old Austrian returned home and put the racquets away for a few weeks, working recovering his competitive urges through long walks and a complete absence from tennis.

Thiem’s latest comeback plan is to be at top form by next month’s Madrid Masters after joining Roger Federer in opting out of Monte Carlo starting Monday, an event to be played under strictest French quarantine restrictions.

By way of tune-up, Thiem will compete in Novak Djokovic’s new Belgrade 250 tournament from April 19.

“After Doha and Dubai I had to take a break. I’m not 100 percent ready yet,” Thiem told his personal website. 

“I’m sorry, I would have liked to play Monte Carlo, but unfortunately it doesn’t work out.”

Joining Thiem in Austria for a clay training block will be Chilean coach Nicolas Massu, who missed the Australian and Middle East trip due to a case of COVID-19.

“Everything was very good, in the next few days I’ll give a lot of gasm” Thiem said of his training regime. “But it will certainly take a few weeks before I’m in top form,” Thiem posted. 

“I want to play decent tennis again by Madrid.”


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