Wimbledon Loses Another Star as Dominic Thiem Withdraws

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The Wimbledon men’s singles tournament took another hit on Thursday when the No. 5-ranked Dominic Thiem withdrew from the tournament because of a right wrist injury.

Rafael Nadal, the Spanish star and two-time Wimbledon champion, withdrew last week. The top-30 players Milos Raonic, David Goffin and Stan Wawrinka also have dropped out of the tournament.

The injury was the latest setback for Thiem in a trying season for him.

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Thiem, a 27-year-old Austrian who rips his groundstrokes with particular gusto, won his first Grand Slam tournament title at last year’s U.S. Open, prevailing in a nervy five-set match with Alexander Zverev. Thiem then reached the final of the season-ending ATP Finals in London, losing to Daniil Medvedev.

He looked poised to challenge Novak Djokovic and Nadal for supremacy in 2021. Instead, he has a 9-9 singles record and has spoken about struggling mentally after last year’s breakthrough in New York.

“During the preparation for this season, I fell into a hole,” he said in April in an interview with the Austrian publication Der Standard. “I spent 15 years chasing the big goal without looking to the left or the right.”

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Thiem, like many players, has said that ongoing pandemic restrictions, which often limit players’ movements and require frequent testing for the coronavirus, have also been difficult.

Though clay has long been his best surface, he did not reach a final in his four clay-court events this year, losing in the first round of the French Open after failing to hold a two-set lead over Pablo Andujar.

“I still hope I can bounce back stronger than before,” Thiem said after that defeat. “But right now I don’t know when that moment is coming.”

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It won’t be on grass, long his weakest surface. In his opening round in Majorca on Tuesday, Thiem retired after feeling acute pain in his right wrist when leading Adrian Mannarino 5-2.

After a magnetic resonance imaging scan in Majorca was inconclusive, he flew to Barcelona for further tests and to consult with Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, the Spanish doctor who has long treated Nadal. Ruiz-Cotorro helped Nadal recover from a left wrist injury in 2016 that forced him to retire from the French Open and miss Wimbledon.

Wrist problems have become increasingly common in professional tennis because of the power and extreme grips being employed on groundstrokes. Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori, leading men’s players, have both missed extensive periods of competition on tour after wrist surgery.

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In an announcement on Thursday, Thiem’s management team said Thiem had been diagnosed with “a detachment of the posterior sheath of the ulnar side of the right wrist” and would wear a wrist splint for five weeks before beginning rehabilitation. The ulnar side of the wrist is nearest the pinkie finger. The sheath is the soft tissue that surrounds a tendon.

It is unclear when Thiem will return to the court and unclear whether he will be able to defend his title at this year’s U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 30.

“I’m going to do everything the doctors say in order to recover as quickly as possible,” Thiem said in a statement. “They’ve informed me that I might be out for several weeks, but I will do my best to be back on court soon.”

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