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Are injuries stopping Dominic Thiem from being a Grand Slam winner?

Dominic Thiem finished runner-up at the recently concluded Australian Open

Three-time Grand Slam finalist Dominic Thiem survived an injury scare before advancing into the second round of the 2020 Rio Open on Wednesday.

Thiem, a 2017 Rio Open champion overcame his opponent, Brazilian wild card entrant Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in his first match of the tournament.

However, concerns were raised after Thiem suffered an injury to his left knee that forced him to take medical assistance at the end of the first game of his second set.

Dominic Thiem Grand Slam
Dominic Thiem rests during his match against Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues during the 2020 Rio Open. (Getty Images)

The World No.4 came back with a protective tapping under his kneecap but struggled to get back into the rhythm finally losing the second set. The experienced Austrian soon recovered winning the game in the third set.

“It was painful for some minutes. It was very scary for me because I felt a sharp pain all of a sudden in the knee. I called the physio straight away,” Thiem said after the match.

“He made this test and told me that basically everything is fine, it’s just because I hit myself. I was pretty worried because I never felt that pain in my knee before.”

Thiem’s misfortune at Grand Slams

The injury that Thiem suffered en-route to his victory at Rio takes us back to the question of whether if it was some injury concerns that denied him a Grand Slam.

Thiem has featured in three finals but is yet to win a big title.

Dominic Thiem Grand Slam
Dominic Thiem with the 2020 Australian Open runner-up trophy – his third in a Grand Slam final. (Getty Images)

Prior to his Australian Open final appearance, Thiem labelled as a clay-court player, had reached the finals of the French Open twice. Once in 2018 and the next in 2019 – both of which he lost to Rafael Nadal.

Thiem had never reported of any injury concerns thus putting that argument to sleep. In fact, the reasons lie somewhere else and have not been exactly due to physical displeasures.

Nadal’s uncle and Toni had commented that Thiem lacked the intensity of Djokovic in the final which saw him lose the match.

Dominic Thiem Garnd Slam
Rafael Nadal consoles Dominic Thiem after the Austrian lost to the Spaniard in the final of the French Open Grand Slam tournament last year. (Getty Images)

“On this occasion, Dominic was very close to getting it. But he made, in my view, an unforgivable mistake against a player of the magnitude of Novak Djokovic – he lowered his intensity in the fourth set for the benefit of the Serbian,” Toni said after Thiem’s loss.

Mental barriers

Thiem after his quarterfinal clash against Nadal said he was battling demons in his head despite his win. The Austrian was serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set when he had his serve broken.

“It’s a little bit demons in the head. It’s true everybody has it. It was a mentally tough situation and I couldn’t handle it but I turned it around in the tiebreaker,” Thiem said after the game.

Thiem’s issues seem to be a little more mental rather than physical. It remains to be seen how the World No.4 would cope in the upcoming Grand Slams this year.

Dominic Thiem Grand Slam
A visibly tired Dominic Thiem during the gruelling quarterfinal clash against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament. (Getty Images)

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