It has been a long twelve months for Viktor Troicki.
The Serbian competitor will make his return to professional competition on Monday afternoon at the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open and it won’t be an easy match-up, as it will be surging Austrian youngster, Dominic Thiem, who will welcome him back on court. This marks the first time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional circuit and will be an intriguing meeting based solely on the questions surrounding Troicki’s extended layoff from competition.
After two consecutive losses at Queen’s Club and Wimbledon, world No. 47 Dominic Thiem returned to Hamburg, where he reached the third round of the tournament, where he lost to eventual champion Leonardo Mayer. He will look to string together another few wins on the tour ahead of the hard court season, starting with a win against Troicki on Monday.
Troicki was initially banned for 18 months in July for violating the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) anti-doping laws after failing to supply a blood sample at the 2013 Monte Carlo Masters. The sentence was cut to 12 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but his long absence has meant that the Serbian has plummeted to number 842 in the ATP world rankings. He is now focused on working his way back into the Top 100 throughout the remainder of the season.
This is the first time these two competitors will meet on the ATP World Tour and could make for an entertaining contest if Troicki shows little rust from his extended layoff. It could be a heavily one-sided affair if that is not the case, as Thiem is improving at a rapid pace over the 2014 season and does not appear to be slowing down. In all cases, it is hard to see Troicki getting past the Austrian this soon after his suspension.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem in Three Sets