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Thiem: I Have Full Trust in Wrist and Forehand

Photo credit: Mike Lawrence/USTA/US Open

Dominic Thiem transformed his US Open first-round match into restoration day.

The 2020 US Open champion Thiem defeated 25th-seeded Alexander Bublik 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 for his first Flushing Meadows match win since he fought back from two-sets down to defeat Alexander Zverev in the 2020 US Open final.

That day, Thiem joined Pancho Gonzales as just the second man in history to rally from two sets down and win a US Open final.

Today, Thiem snapped a streak of six major opening-round exits scoring his first Grand Slam victory since he battled back from two sets down to defeat Nick Kyrgios at the 2021 Australian Open.

The former world No. 3 saw his career stalled by a chronic wrist injury that seemed to sap both his confidence and ferocious forehand.  

Earlier this month, a defiant Thiem denied five match points out-dueling Laslo Djere 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(8) to reach his first final since the 2020 ATP Finals on the red clay of his Kitzbuhel home tournament. Thiem says that run to the finals—and the fact his wrist has withstood the strain of match play and countless practice sessions—has infused him with confidence.

“The physical trust is there, you know. Since the injury I have played many tournaments,” Thiem said. “I did many, many practice sessions. I really also gave a lot of load on the wrist again. So it’s completely fine. The mental side was not that easy as restore the arm was. Was not doing the same job I was used to before the injury, so that was not easy.

“Yeah, with every success, with every match, especially with bigger successes or better weeks like I had in Austria when I played my first finals or also here, back on winning ways in Grand Slams, it helps a lot on the mental side and to get the full trust again in the wrist. And, yeah, that it does 100% what I want with the forehand.”

The forehand and return game will crucial components for Thiem in his second round clash vs. Australian Open quarterfinalist Ben Shelton.

“I played him on clay, but this was just, I guess, his first clay court tournament ever or something,” Thiem said of Shelton. “On hard, I guess it’s a completely different game. He played quarters in the Australian Open. He had some great results on hard court.

“In general, I’m looking forward a lot to that match. He’s a great guy. He’s unbelievable athlete. I really love to watch him. Yeah, I guess that one big thing gonna be the return again. He’s serving incredible.

“Today I was returning well, so I try to do that in the second round as well.”