“I’m not vaccinated yet. I actually want to wait for the Novavax vaccine because I heard from my doctor that it should be really good,” Thiem explained at the media talk. For Australia, however, there is a deadline for November 26th, by which time you have to be fully immunized to enter the country. “If it works out,” Thiem wants to be vaccinated with Novavax if this so-called dead vaccine is approved in time. “If not, I’ll get something else vaccinated.”
Thiem is about to make a comeback
After he stood on the tennis court for the first time on Monday and played with soft balls from half the court for ten minutes, the set-up should be done very carefully and slowly. At the beginning of November Thiem hopes to be able to hit really “hard” again, then with normal balls and from the baseline.
If the healing of his injured right wrist goes according to plan, Thiem would like to return to an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi in mid-December. Before that, a few checks are announced, so he will travel to his Belgian doctor, Frederik Verstreken on October 21/22. If everything fits, then “I will probably give it my all again for the first time in the first week of November”. After that, it will take three to four weeks before he is back in reasonably good shape. Therefore, Abu Dhabi is realistic and also good in this case. “The goal is of course Australia and for that I need a few matches at a good level”, said Thiem.
Slow approach for tennis ace
Quite possible that he will then prepare for the upcoming season, which begins in Australia, in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. There, or possibly also in Monte Carlo, there are enough top players with whom he can prepare.
Currently, however, the focus is on slowly approaching a fully functional right wrist. That’s why Thiem has been in the Salzkammergut for two weeks and one more and trains at the APC (Athlete Performance Center), Red Bull’s training center in Thalgau. According to Thiem, there are several reasons for this. “The infrastructure is sensational and also the hand treatment, everything is perfectly communicated. We also have a phone call with the doctor in Belgium once a week and he also gave precise therapy instructions,” explained Thiem.
“Was super nervous”
Verstreken has also taken care of wrist injuries for Kei Nishikori and Kim Clijsters. “He’s really experienced, especially in tennis and those injuries.” When Thiem is fit again, his tennis training center will be back in Traiskirchen.
Since the second removal of the splint two weeks ago, the focus has been on strengthening and making the “stiff” wrist more flexible, Thiem reported. “Before the appointment a week ago, I was super nervous,” admitted Thiem, because what was at stake was of course the decision as to whether an operation was necessary. “The decision was amazing, because if I had an operation I probably wouldn’t have come back until April.”
No pain anymore
The 17-time tournament winner from Lichtenwörth currently has no pain at all. “It’s just weird. I haven’t had the bat in my hand for eight weeks and of course there is still the little blockage in my head when the forehand snaps, it will certainly take a while until it’s gone,” revealed Thiem, who on the advice of his ex-physio Alex Stober started again with tennis training too early and suffered a setback as a result.
This also led to the separation from Stober via the media, not because of the wrong decision, as Thiem explained again. “There have been a few mistakes, of course. My mistake, why that happened through the media, was that I didn’t call him. I’m not the type of guy who calls the same or the next day and then calls over everyone for hours Discussed problems. He didn’t give me a chance to call because he then gave me the slap in the media. Of course I was disappointed. But I definitely want to say that because it was too good all the time. “
Separation from physiotherapist
According to Thiem, the reason for the separation was Stober’s reaction. “Everyone makes mistakes, but the way that they then did not admit it to themselves and somehow assigned the blame to me and the other team. That was a breach of trust and the reason for the separation.” The Spanish doctor had already told him after the injury in Mallorca in June that he would be able to “get rid of” a start at the US Open.
Stober then “did therapy on his own and said the US Open shouldn’t be a problem at all. You will be able to play there.” He smelled a fuse on it. “Then I gave up the brace much too early. Then the other forms of therapy went a little wrong. I then played for a week and a half and then it happened again. That the tape hopped out again.”
No great expectations in Australia
The first goal Thiem is now next to recovery is Australia, but there you can not expect so much. He has already had a three or four week break, six months is “another house number”. He also lacks matches.
This is precisely why he did not accept the possibility of a “protected ranking”: Firstly because it will not slide so far for the time being and above all because otherwise he would not be able to play exhibitions like the one in Abu Dhabi. But: “I have the confidence, if everything goes well with my wrist, that I will play really well and have a top preparation.”
French Open Thiem’s big goal
If he looks further ahead, the French Open is the big goal, because after the Australian Open he still has four months to get enough matches at the highest level before Paris. Thiem has now found his personal team, apart from the physiotherapist. Otherwise the team, led by head coach Nicolas Massu, remains the same.
The 2022 tournament schedule could become tighter again than before his injury. “The whole thing has completely changed, now I’m hot to play and it may now be that I put in more tournaments. I have to look at the ranking and see that I get up again.” There is no real tournament schedule yet, but: “I definitely want to play as much as possible from Australia to Paris.”