Dominic Thiem has taken the first “baby” hit of his long wrist injury recovery, with the former US Open champion determined not to rush his comeback to the ATP.

The Austrian who is projected to stand around 20th by the Australian Open start in January, told Austrian media at a Monday “summit” that aims to be COVID-vaccinated before Australia to avoid what promises to be a hard quarantine for the vaxx-shy part of the player population.

Thiem said he has had a hit with soft balls in what he called his first actual training since suffering the injury last June on grass in Mallorca.

“Today I played ten minutes of tennis again for the first time”, with soft balls on a half-court, he said.

No. 8 Thiem is likely to get his first test under match conditions at the Abu Dhabi exho in mid-December, a target for which he is aiming.

“I need every (possible) preparation match,” he said, adding that the injury which has wiped out the second half of 2021 “was mentally bad. 

“Somehow I was still hoping for a start at the US Open, but I did then there were always setbacks.

“When it became clear that I had to end the season early, it was a little easier. Then I didn’t do anything for four weeks.

“If you have hit a ball 1,000 times a day for years, it is clear that there will be an injury at some point.”

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