Dominic Thiem will cut his tournament schedule to avoid the lonely lockdown life, with the ATP No. 4 unwilling to put himself through the psychological wringer any more than necessary.
With his return to the courts already delayed until the Belgrade event at mid-month, the reigning US Open champion is seriously concerned about a new normal limited to hotel rooms and empty tennis stadiums.
“The energy from the fans, having a nice dinner in the evening, going to the beach: All these beautiful things simply fall away,” Thiem told ORF.
“And the bad things, like traveling, are still there.”
Thiem quit the Tour in March for a racquet-free total recharge at home after a poor Australian Open and early defeats in Doha and Dubai.
He only picked up a racquet in recent days and is skipping the Monte Carlo Masters which starts on Monday after also avoiding Miami.
The 27-year-old hinted that playing in fewer events might be the only current way to stay sane amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything’s a little more strenuous than it was before. That’s why both I and many other players will take more breaks than normal.
“It’s just important to be fully ready again.”
Thiem is not the only competitor cutting back exposure to the grim reality of professional tennis life at the moment.
In addition to reduced prize money due to a lack of paying spectators due to worldwide national virus restrictions, there is also the sheer boredom factor.
French veteran Gllles Simon took a six-week break from the game earlier this season while Nick Kyrgios has yet to leave Australia to play an outside match after taking cover from COVID well over a year ago.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will make their returns in Monte Carlo after last competing in February in Melbourne.