It’s perhaps not surprising to hear that Dominic Thiem withdraws from Monte Carlo Masters. After all, he hasn’t played since Dubai.
The immediate response to hearing the news that Thiem withdraws from Monte Carlo Masters was that the foot injury he sustained at the Australian Open is still bothering him. But according to his agent, Herwig Straka, it’s not the reason why he decided to pull out.
“Domi is not injured,” Straka told Kleine Zeitung. “He just wants to give himself more preparation time.”
Thiem himself put out a comment on his website: “I had to take a break. I’m not 100 percent ready yet. I have a lot to work on.”
From overplaying to a more mature approach
Thiem was always (in)famous for playing a lot of tournaments and matches in one year. Under his previous coach Gunther Bresnik, his schedule was fierce. The thinking seemed to be: the more tennis, the better. But now that Thiem is under new management and with coach Nicolas Massu, the strategy seemed to have changed. Maybe it was forced to due to injury concerns, or they just decided to focus more on quality scheduling, similar to what Federer, Rafa, and Novak has done for years.
Tennis is rough on the body. And it requires a fresh mind and lots of mental toughness. If you’re tired, you won’t perform as well – it’s obvious. If Thiem is not injured but decides to take a cautious approach with more time for preparation, I think it’s a sign that he’s matured and he is ready to focus hard on the most important tournaments. It’s a timely change now that he’s getting slightly older and the focus must have shifted to the grand slams. He will be one of the key favorites for the French Open title, but in that tournament, there can really only be one main favorite – Rafael Nadal.
“As things stand, [Thiem] will start the clay-court season with Belgrade,” said Straka. “This will be followed by the Masters events in Madrid and Rome.”
This means we will soon see Thiem on the clay, but not at the Monte Carlo Masters. A good sign for him and for fans of his game.