Barbara Schett: Dominic Thiem will be in good shape once tennis resumes

Former WTA no.7 Barbara Schett, who is now a Eurosport pundit, has backed her Austrian compatriot to make an excellent return when the tour resumes.

Thiem, ranked world no. 3, reached the Australian Open Final earlier this year after successive first-round exits in the previous two Grand Slam tournaments.

He recovered from a set down to lead 2-1, but ultimately lost in a five-set thriller against reigning champion Novak Djokovic.

Thiem, who turns 27 in September, reached last year’s ATP Finals after successive wins against Roger Federer and Djokovic.

During the event, many suggested this was a true changing of the guard – considering it was he and 21-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas engrossed in a memorable final.

READ: Becker backs Zverev, Thiem among exciting players to surpass Big Three

Although he lost in a tight three-set battle, he’s gone from strength-to-strength since then.

Thiem has been playing several exhibition events on different surfaces recently, to effectively prepare for the return of the professional circuit.

Prior to tennis’ March shutdown, Thiem had won 25-of-28 exhibition matches and has been victorious in four tournaments since coronavirus halted competitive play.

Speaking to Eurosport, Schett says this approach works for him.

“Apparently Dominic needs that and is fueling self-confidence. Dominic has always played many tournaments and is one of the toughest competitors.”

The 44-year-old said Thiem wants to play on different surfaces as the US Open and French Open have been scheduled very close to one another on the calendar – despite reservations against the concept.

He plans to play in Cincinnati and the US Open, from which point he’ll head back to Europe – playing the clay court circuit, including this year’s rescheduled Roland Garros.

With Federer (knee) sidelined until the start of 2021 at the earliest and Rafael Nadal among those unprepared to risk competing at Flushing Meadows, Thiem can take full advantage in the rankings.

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