‘I’m going to struggle!’ – Opponent banters with Dominic Thiem as former number three makes ATP tour return
Dominic Thiem was able to force a third set but ultimately lost to John Millman in his first ATP tour level match since the Mallorca Open in June last year.
The 2020 US Open champion was drawn in the same quarter as home favourite Novak Djokovic but will now not face the world number one after falling to world number 80 Millman 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the Australian’s first victory over the Austrian.
When the two men met at the net after a more than two and a half hour encounter, Millman empathised with Thiem on his injury struggles.
He said: “When you get 100% fit I’m going to struggle bud,” acknowledging how an underpowered Thiem was still able to push him to three sets.
The former world number three made his competitive return at a Marbella Challenger event in March, losing in the first round there to Argentinian world number 228 Pedro Cachin.
Thiem was then scheduled to make his tour level return at the Monte Carlo Masters but was forced to miss out after contracting Covid.
Fortunately, he was cleared in time to appear at the Serbia Open.
While he is currently ranked 54th in the world, Thiem will drop to at least 93rd next week as his 250 points from winning the Barcelona Open in 2019 drop from his ranking.
He will drop a further 450 ranking points between now and Roland Garros from his 2021 results in Madrid and Rome, which could see him fall outside the top 200 for the first time since he was just 19 years old in August 2013.
While he could ask for a wildcard to play Roland Garros with a ranking that would be inadequate for direct entry, he would be competing with fellow former world number three in Stan Wawrinka.
The Swiss revealed recently that he will request a wildcard to Paris in order to return to the event he won in 2015.
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