Dominic Thiem will head back to Europe after Tuesday’s 6-3, 6-4 loss in Dubai to Lloyd Harris, with the world No. 4 Austrian hoping to massage his tepid game back to top form.

The US Open champion will skip the Miami Masters, using the coming days to try and improve – and fast – for the approaching clay season.

The double Roland Garros finalist against Rafael Nadal has been buffeted for far in 2021 after reaching the November title match of the ATP Finals in London.

His best this season was a modest fourth round at the Australian Open, where he lost to Grigor Dimitrov.

“I need to re-set and go fresh into the clay season,” he said. “I’m now in a a tough period. I want to re-group and hopefully have a good clay season.

“After these tough weeks that’s my main goal.”

Thiem said that his occasional foot injury played no part in his loss to No. 81 Harris.

“There was no pain at all, this problem is on/off.

The main issue: I’m not playing well in general.

“I need to start fresh and get ready for my first clay tournament, wherever it is I’m gonna play.”

Thiem said he’s not bothered by lack of fans in Dubai, though he would naturally prefer to have the stands populated.

“It’s all about yourself out there, but it’s still nice if there is a crowd and a good atmosphere.

“But if I’m at 100 per cent and ready I can be ready even if the stadium is empty.”


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