Dominic Thiem twice fought back from a break down, but could not get over the line in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Alex de Minaur in Tuesday’s opening match at the Kooyong Classic.
The decades-old warm-up event for the Australian Open will be the venue for a return trip for the one-time No. 3 who is grinding back on the Tour after his June, 2021, wrist injury.
The 2020 Melbourne finalist who won the US Open title nine months later that season, will play another match here on Wednesday, taking on Frances Tiafoe.
Thiem admits he’s an unknown quantity heading to Melbourne Park.
“My wild card is a big honour and also a big possibility (to do well),” Thiem said. .
“If I have the chance to make some damage we will see if I can make that happen.
“I’m glad I’ve left my injury behind, the body feels good.”
The two-time Roland Garros finalist added: “I’m ready to go at the Grand Slam, but I don’t know how good I am at the moment.
“It’s very difficult to go deep in a Slam, all of the players are on a high level. But I had a good preparation so I should be ready – we’ll see.”