Dominic Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion, has received a second chance at Australian Open glory after lucky loser status propelled him into the main draw following the withdrawal of American Reilly Opelka.
Thiem, currently ranked 98th in the world, had been facing the prospect of battling through the grueling qualifying rounds after a first-round defeat at the Brisbane International. However, Opelka’s unexpected pullout due to a persistent toe injury opened the door for the Austrian to make a dramatic return to the Melbourne Park limelight.
This is a welcome turn of events for Thiem, who has endured a challenging two years. A debilitating wrist injury in 2021 sidelined him for months, and his comeback has been hampered by inconsistent form. Despite flashes of his brilliance, including a second-round win at the US Open last year, the former world No. 3 has struggled to recapture his pre-injury dominance.
The Australian Open has been a happy hunting ground for Thiem in the past. He reached the final in 2020, only to be denied the title by Novak Djokovic. A repeat of that run to the final now seems like a long shot, but Thiem’s inclusion in the main draw offers him a valuable opportunity to gain match practice and build momentum as he works his way back towards the top of the game.
His first-round opponent is yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure: Thiem’s fighting spirit and his potent combination of baseline power and exquisite touch will make him a dangerous unseeded player in the draw.
The Australian Open gets underway on January 16th, and tennis fans will be eager to see whether Thiem can use this lucky break to reignite his Grand Slam charge.