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Dominic Thiem cancels Abu Dhabi return, hopes for ATP Cup

Vienna: Dominic Thiem said Wednesday that he plans to return to competitive tennis in Australia in January after cancelling his participation at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this week.

“The ATP Cup is definitely the goal now. I hope I will be able to play there… I’m optimistic,” the 2020 US Open champion told reporters.

The 28-year-old said his wrist had fully healed from an injury — that had kept him off the court since August — but he had yet to overcome a mental block when he is hitting the ball.

“The whole process is going according to plan. I am pain free. But I lag behind in training. I only go on the court when I can do 100 percent of the forehand, and I am currently at 80,” he said.

The Austrian said he was currently back to training several hours a day but has not yet played against any of his teammates, leading him to call off competing at Mubadala World Tennis Championship this week.

Thiem said he would fly from Abu Dhabi to Sydney later this month.

After the ATP Cup, Thiem plans to compete in the first Grand Slam of 2022 at the Australian Open.

At the ATP Cup in Sydney, he is scheduled to play the opening match against defending champion and world number two Daniil Medvedev on 2 January.

Thiem, whose world ranking has dropped to 15th from third in 2020, said he expected to have to fight hard once he returns.

“It will certainly be a rocky way back, the level is very high. But I also had to work my way up in my younger years, and I also made it back then,” he said.

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