After his first round in Roland Garros starts Dominic Thiem (ATP No. 92) this week at the ATP Challenger tournament in Heilbronn with the clear objective – back on the road to success.
by Dietmar Kaspar
last edited: 04.06.2023, 11:48 am
Logically, Dominic Thiem seemed visibly disappointed after the 5-set defeat in Paris against Argentinian Pedro Cachin. After a 0:2 set deficit, the Lichtenwörther radiated the desired dominance on the court, but ultimately could no longer reward himself for the increase in performance. But instead of burying his head in the proverbial sand, the 29-year-old immediately looked ahead again. Before the start of his grass season, which this year consists of starting at the ATP tournament in Halle and in Wimbledon, the Lower Austrian sprinkles two more participations on the ATP Challenger Tour on sand.
Heilbronn as a fine address on the Challenger Tour
Before starting in Perugia, Thiem will play at the Neckarcup in Heilbronn this week. The tournament has been an institution on the tour for many years and has been voted Challenger Tournament of the Year by players on multiple occasions. In recent years, the tournament has taken place immediately before qualifying for the French Open in order to snag one of the coveted Category 125 dates in the second week of a Grand Slam tournament this season. As in the case of Thiem, one or the other early dropout at the major can be convinced of short-term participation via wildcard. The field is led this year by former French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato from Italy.
Solvable task at the beginning
The goal for Thiem in Heilbronn is clear – gain self-confidence with as many victories as possible in order to be able to call up your full performance for the upcoming tasks right from the start of the matches. The former US Open champion, seeded at position 4, meets Kaichi Uchida at the start. The Japanese was able to climb up to 3rd place in the ranking during his successful junior years, but needed a longer start-up time to gain a foothold in the men’s category. The 28-year-old has been in the top 200 for a year and is currently ranked 154 in the world. He won exactly half of his titles on the Future and Challenger tours on sand. If he wins at the start, Thiem could meet Maximilian Neuchrist (ATP No. 188), the second Austrian in the field, who faces Spaniard Pedro Martinez in the first round.
Here the individual tableau in Heilbronn
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