Austrian tennis star Dominic Thiem has shared his thoughts on his fourth-round exit at this year’s Australian Open.
The current World Number 4 told EssentiallySports that there were external factors and issues around the event that may have taken his focus away from tennis during the tournament.
Dominic Thiem crashed out in the fourth round of the Australian Open after losing to Grigor Dimitrov
The Austrian, the runner-up at last year’s event, fell to a tame defeat to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
Days before the tournament, over 70 enlisted players were forced into hard quarantine without the option of training after crew members in their chartered flight tested positive for Covid-19. Reports later revealed that several players had been among those infected with the virus.
Even as tournament organizers were wrestling with the Covid fallout, another controversy erupted after a letter written by eventual men’s champion Novak Djokovic to Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley, seeking an easing of lockdown rules, stoked online fury.
The outrage prompted the Serb to issue a clarification that he didn’t seek privileges for himself but had only put forward certain demands in the interest of players forced into hard lockdown.
Dominic Thiem says he couldn’t process “so many things coming in together” at Australian Open
German tennis star Alexander Zverev later backed him, saying that the demands were raised by the players during a group chat with the Serb and he had simply conveyed them to the Tennis Australian CEO.
Adding to the series of unsavory events, the organizers had to rule out crowds for matches just a week or so into the Australian Open after host city Melbourne went into a five-day flash lockdown in view of fresh Covid cases.
Thiem said that with “so many things coming in together” ahead of his fourth-round clash with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, it was a “tough experience” as he needed some time to process it all and couldn’t focus on his game.
“I needed some time to analyze everything, settle down a little,” Thiem said, adding that what’s done is done.
He said has shifted focus to his next assignment – ATP Doha – and was looking forward to the opportunity to “get good results, get confidence and forget the pretty tough start (to) the season”.
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Twenty-time Grand Slam Roger Federer will also make his return to competitive tennis at the event.