“It was the okay match. It was far from bad, even if you look at the statistics and compare them with the last matches, they were much better,” said Thiem after 4: 6 6: 7 (5/7) against Italian Fabio Fognini. The winning percentage after the first and second serve, the returns, all that was “really nice”.
“I’ve always had more fun compared to the last few weeks, simply because everything works better and better,” said the 28-year-old from Lower Austria. “Slowly, I move better, I run the balls out again, I make the forehand again, I play winners with the forehand – slowly things that are fun start to work again.” As before after the defeats in Belgrade and Estoril, he did not like tennis. “If you just somehow see the ball go in,” Thiem specified.
Sometimes he would still make mistakes that should not happen at this level. “In the tie-break, when it gets tighter, when I lose a little bit of looseness, the forehand starts to spread too much. But I have to accept that.” Thiem had demanded patience from himself and probably also from his fans weeks ago. “Of course it’s really bitter: another defeat in the first round and leaving the tournament again on Monday. I have no choice but to start next week positively. ”
It’s easier to play with a cord
What is Thiem missing so far? “I have to start a match where I play in front, where I get the first break and win the first set. Then things look different. ” In his previous appearances, he had followed with most of the time. “Today I almost flipped the second set anyway,” said Thiem, who struggled from a match point against Fognini and struggled into the tie-break. The feeling he left Rome with was therefore better than that after the defeat to Andy Murray in Madrid last week.
But that is the “hard way” he has chosen. “I could also have said I’m still training full time or starting in smaller tournaments. But I also think that’s the way I’m improving and rising the fastest.”
“I need matches”
The next station for Thiem and at the same time the dress rehearsal for the French Open in Paris is the ATP 250 tournament in Geneva. “I need matches, I also need training with the top players, I get them in Geneva.”
Thiem has no illusions about Paris: “It’s not like in recent years that I’m one of the top favorites in Roland Garros. I would be very happy if I could win a round or two.” But he does not see himself far away either. “There is still a little something missing everywhere. If I can catch up, it’s going to be fine anyway. I have to give myself time. ”
ATP 1000 tournament in Rome
(Italy, € 6,008,725, gravel track)