Thiem Withdraws From Challenger Event After Losing To Two Players Out Of Top 200

Thiem Withdraws From Challenger Event After Losing To Two Players Out Of Top 200

by Nurein Ahmed

Dominic Thiem has been experiencing a turbulent year, and that is now haunting his decision-making about whether it may be worth playing after all.

The Austrian former World No. 3 has hit rock bottom in recent days, losing two matches in consecutive ATP Challenger tournaments to players outside the Top 200, and has now elected to withdraw from his next tournament.

Thiem started the new year on a clean slate, hoping to turn around his fortunes even as the clock began to tick on his career. The two-time Roland Garros finalist qualified for the Brisbane main draw but lost to Rafael Nadal in the first round.

Thiem had run the legendary Spaniard close in a tight first set but faded. What made the defeat tough to swallow was that it was Nadal's first competitive match in a year.

That fate would be the start of a wretched run of form that saw Thiem lose in the first round of the Australian Open to Felix Auger-Aliassime and then to Polish journeyman Daniel Michalski at the Szekesfehervar Challenger.

The loss to Michalski is probably the worst of Thiem's career. Although he bounced back by shaking off Filip Krajinovic at the Zadar Challenger, he lost in the subsequent round to World No. 219 Lukas Neumayer 6-2, 6-1.

Thiem is hovering just inside the world's Top 100 at No. 90 and chose to compete with lower-ranked opponents in Challengers rather than traveling to the United States to play the Sunshine Double.

That decision has backfired so far, as the 30-year-old has lost two matches to players he would otherwise have beaten to a pulp on peak form. But that is what he is yearning to achieve, and it has not been easy.

Even his former rival's appointment as coach has not brought positive results. Thiem has pulled out from the Naples Challenger 125, which kicks off next week. His spot in the main draw will go to home player Marco Cecchinato.


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