Grand Slam winners Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem seek Antwerp revival

Stan Wawrinka collecting balls

Grand Slam winners in the era of the big three Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem have slid away from the game’s elite thanks to their injury battles but both harbour hopes of a revival.

Thiem has insisted that he wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t think he could get back to his best and win tournaments.

The former US Open champion enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in Gijon last week, losing to eventual champion Andrey Rublev.

Thiem is reasonably confident of finding his best tennis again.

“I hope so. I have a belief that I can do it,” Thiem said in Gijon in an interview with AS.

“If not, I would leave my career. I was at the top, in the top 3 of the rankings.

“I do have the feeling that I am able to fight again for the big titles, for the Slams, and beat anyone.

Thiem added: “If not, all this hard work wouldn’t make sense to me. I hope that next year I can do it. I still have big dreams and I hope I can achieve them once again.”

The Austrian will make his Antwerp debut against Belgian wildcard Michael Geerts.

Meanwhile, Stan Wawrinka was out of action for more than a year and had to undergo two surgeries on an injured left foot but returned at the Monte-Carlo Masters.

His best performance of the season came in Metz a few weeks back where he beat Daniil Medvedev en route to the semi-finals.

On his return Wawrinka admitted that he had serious doubts about making a return to the tour.

“[It is] not a miracle, I wouldn’t say that, but it was very long and difficult, more than a year. I thought I would be [out] only a few weeks. It lasted a whole year with many moments of doubts. It was extremely long and tough,” Wawrinka said. “I really needed to have the willpower to come back, to have the strength to go through rehab and everything, and I’m very happy to be here now.

“Of course there were those questions in my mind. I was afraid things wouldn’t happen the way I wanted them to happen, and when you have those difficult times and those doubts, you know you need to go through rehab to be able to live a normal daily life anyway.

“So in my mind, one way or the other, I knew I would want to come back. Maybe saying good-bye, having pain would be an option, but for the time being things are going well.

“I can practise a lot, which is good. I hope I’ll be able to do that the whole year.”

Wawrinka will play former World No 7 Richard Gasquet in the first round of the European Open.

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