Before Paris, though, there are three Masters 1000 titles to play for on clay, including Madrid, where he reached the final last year. First, Thiem will try to improve on a poor record in Monte Carlo, where he has never been past the quarter-finals.
With a bye into round two, Thiem will begin against either Slovakia’s Martin Klizan or a qualifier, with Djokovic a potential opponent in the semi-finals, should he make it that far for the first time.
“Everybody would have to be full power"
Confidence, on the back of his Californian win, is high. “I expect a lot, of course, like in every clay-court season,” said Thiem, who confirmed Sunday that he is now working officially with Chile’s Nicolas Massu, the former Olympic champion, having split from long-time coach Gunter Bresnik.
“It’s amazing. Three Masters 1000 events, one grand slam, one Masters 500 and maybe one 250,” he said, of the clay-court schedule. “Only strong tournaments and I think especially here the draw is a joke – it’s so strong and the level of men’s tennis is pretty high at the moment I would say.
“I think everybody would have to be full power on at the first point of every match and myself as well. That’s what I try and then of course I hope good things are coming in this clay-court season.”