CINCINNATI -- Notorious for an unrelenting schedule, Dominic Thiem admits that playing too many tournaments led to the hip injury that has plagued him in recent weeks. Thiem retired during his opening match in Toronto against Kevin Anderson, citing the injury, and then withdrew from the inaugural tournament in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Thiem concedes, "it was a matter of fatigue and also a little bit of wrong planning by myself and some wrong decisions especially after Roland Garros."
The back-to-back grass events right after the French Open -- in Stuttgart and Halle -- are the ones Thiem pinpoints as potential errors in his schedule.
"After Paris, I could have pulled out of at least one grass court tournament and maybe it would be better," he said.
Despite winning Stuttgart and making the semifinal in Halle, Thiem could only manage a second round showing at Wimbledon. He would go on to lose his first match at his next two appearances, at home in Austria, and then in Toronto.
Still, Thiem has scripted an impressive season in 2016: he is 4-1 in ATP Tour finals and has made at least the quarterfinals in 10 events. In early June, he cracked the ATP top 10 for the first time in his career. For his part, the current world #9 knows the heft of the achievement.
"I want to keep my spot in the top 10, very tough to get there and I think also very very tough to stay there, so now my goal is to stay as long as possible in the top 10."
As for whether reaching the top 10 has changed anything for Thiem on or off the court, he said, "I'm the same person and I will always be the same person. I won't change only because I am top 10. I mean, it's nice and it was a big goal but still I'm still the same person like a couple years ago."
Thiem did note one difference since reaching the upper echelon of the men's game: "Maybe a little bit more interest in my person, but from myself nothing changed."
Thiem, the #8 seed in Cincinnati, gets a bye in the first round before playing either Malek Jaziri or John Millman in the second. Thiem is 0-2 in two prior appearances at the Western and Southern Open.