Dominic Thiem expresses his doubts ahead of the French Open

Dominic Thiem waving

US Open champions Dominic Thiem has admitted he is still unsure of his form heading into the French Open, with his confidence shaken by a defeat against Britain’s Cameron Norrie on Thursday.

The British number two was facing a top-five player for the fifth time and produced a brilliant performance to beat the world number four 6-3 6-2, with the result adding to the uncertainty around Thiem’s form ahead of the second Grand Slam event of 2021.

While the Austrian has always been at home on clay courts, he is still fighting back from early-season injuries as he starts to train his eyes on a shot at the title in Paris.

Thiem has opted to add an extra tournament to his schedule as he plays in Lyon this week and he concedes he is yet to discover whether he is ready to challenge for major titles again.

“I am still trying to find my form. I’m not playing as well as I did in 2019 (at the French Open) when I played my best tennis, or as good as in 2018,” he told the ATP.

“But I am a better player now. I will try and practise well and work hard in Lyon, then work myself into the tournament. My preparation hasn’t been ideal this year, I won’t lie about that. But I am certain I will play well there.

“Madrid and Rome were good steps in the right directions, with the semi-finals (in Madrid) and a loss to Lorenzo Sonego (in Rome) in three hours and 20 minutes. I had match point [and lost] 7-6 in the third and after [that] he beat Rublev then played an amazing match against Novak (Djokovic)

“I liked the way I played there and I hope I can take this positive direction into Lyon and get some matches.”

Thiem feels his form is coming back to his best as he recovers from foot and knee problems that have disrupted his plans in 2021.

“In Madrid and Rome there was some per cent missing in my shots,” he added. “My first serve wasn’t doing enough damage and when I had an easy forehand, I wasn’t hitting in the right direction or placement

“The transitions from offence to defence weren’t good. To go really deep in tournaments, I need to improve these areas of the game and I intend to do so in Lyon this week.”

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