Dominic Thiem admits his loss to Cameron Norrie was a "huge step back" and a blow to his confidence ahead of the French Open.
After taking two months off following a challenging start to the season, Thiem made an encouraging return at the Madrid Open as he made the semi-finals.
Although he then lost in the third round at the Italian Open to Lorenzo Sonego, he still felt he was heading in a "positive direction" before taking a wildcard to the Lyon Open.
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However, his straight-sets defeat to Norrie has knocked him back as he looks to find his best form before his favourite major.
"It's just a huge step back," he said. "I was hoping to take the little positive signs from Madrid and Rome here, but it didn't work out, so I have to analyse now and look down to Roland-Garros.
"It was a huge disappointment…I was preparing well here, practising well and just didn’t find any rhythm, any strokes."
Thiem reached the semi-finals at the French Open in 2016 and 2017 and then lost in the final the following two years to Rafael Nadal.
A good week in Lyon, where he was the top seed, would have given him a lift ahead of a return to Paris, but he says defeat was "not good for the confidence".
"To be honest, the way I played today, I was expecting that more to come in Madrid because I hadn’t played for so long," said Thiem, who missed most of March and April due to injury and needing time to "reset" following the demands of being on the tour.
"But now I was back in the match rhythm and actually hoping for good tennis. I don’t know what to say or what to think. That’s why I need to analyse it and just need to work hard for Roland Garros and I’m hoping for the best there.”
Thiem won just 38 percent of the points played against world No 49 Norrie, who secured the biggest win of his career.
"I was practising quite well the days I’ve been at home and the days before the match here, so it’s more the matches," Thiem said. "I need to find a way back somehow. The next match is already the first round at Roland Garros and until that day I need to hopefully sort it out.
"I’m still trying to find the way I’m playing. I felt that I was on the right way in Madrid and Rome and the match against Sonego wasn’t bad at all. There were many long rallies. Today again I felt a little bit uncomfortable to play in these long rallies and rushing a few of them. That’s how it is."
Thiem, who is not planning on playing another tournament before the French Open, particularly struggled with his return game against Norrie.

Cameron Norrie

Image credit: Getty Images

He won just three of 33 points on Norrie’s first serve and did not create a single break-point chance.
"I was struggling, obviously return is one of my weakest parts, so if I'm playing bad or if I have a bad day, you can see it a little more clearly on the return, and if I don't get any points off the return it's always a sign that it's a bad day of mine," he said.
"But as I said the only way now is to work on it, to work on all parts of the game. I still have a little bit of time and I'll try to sort it out. But yes, definitely the return was really, really bad today."
He says he may now watch some of his old matches on clay to try and improve his game before Paris.

"Maybe looking on matches on clay a few years ago, or seeing how I played back then."
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