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May 26, 2017

Dominic Thiem

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. Can you talk about how it feels to be in the top 10? And also a little bit about your win over Rafa. You're the only one who caught him on the clay.
DOMINIC THIEM: It's very nice to be in the top 10. I'm very pleased that I have been there since one year now. Yeah, I didn't quite expect it when I came in the first time last year.

Yeah, I mean, the win over Rafa was of course a big thing for me. But anyway, I mean, I played the best player on clay three times in three tournaments. I learned a lot from that matches, so I think I prepared well for this tournament.

Q. On the top 10, though, what does that give you in terms of confidence? Because you're close enough to when you weren't that you might be able to remember what that does to you mentally.
DOMINIC THIEM: Of course it gives you a lot of confidence, but, yeah, at the beginning you feel also quite a lot of pressure, because you don't want to fall out again, because it brings a lot of advantages to you if you're in the top 10, because you get better draws, you face the top players in the later rounds of a tournament.

So in the beginning, it's very tough to stay there. You think more a little bit to not fall out again. And now I'm a little bit more confident. I feel that I belong there, basically. And it's a little bit easier for me.

Q. How do you feel here after your semifinal of last year?
DOMINIC THIEM: I feel good. I mean, I always come here with a good feeling. I played finals as a junior six years ago. Then last year the semis.

Obviously it's my favorite surface, so always a good feeling to come back. And as I defended many points in the last weeks in Rome and Madrid, I don't come here with that much pressure.

Q. You said that now you feel like you belong in the top 10. At what point did you start feeling like that?
DOMINIC THIEM: I mean, I think if you come there for the first time at a quite young age, I don't know, you look up to them, to the other ones in the top 10 and feel strange somehow, because they have been your idols and now you're with them in the top 10.

I think before a year I almost fall out of the top 10, then with the win of the tournament I kept, and then I played a very good clay court season so far. I think this was the time I realized that I really belong there.

Q. Do you feel that Rafa is the player to beat here? You know, obviously you beat him, but obviously his clay court season was so great. I know that Novak just said he thinks he's the favorite.
DOMINIC THIEM: 100% he's the big favorite. He's on the top to win here. Of course I think he's back at his best this year, and then also he won nine times. So he knows how it works to win here.

I will think he will try everything to win Le Décima, I think it will be very unique in tennis to win a Grand Slam title ten times. It's pretty crazy, I guess. So 100% he's the one to beat here and the big favorite.

Q. Usually you'd spend this week playing a warmup event often down in Nice. What's the thought process of getting here a bit earlier this year?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, maybe I would have done so if it would still be in Nice, because I really liked it there a lot.

And then, I mean, I talked with my coach and we said that if I have enough matches until Rome, I won't play event, and if not -- if I don't play that good we maybe ask for a wildcard.

But it was a great tournament for me; Barcelona, Madrid, Rome. I had a lot of matches, and of course I was also tired after Rome. So we decided not to play.

I mean, I have enough matches on clay to come in here.

Q. Djokovic says he thinks you and Zverev are the two players with the best chance of winning here outside of Wawrinka, himself, Nadal, and Murray. Do you see yourself able to kind of break into that Big 5 by the end of the year?
DOMINIC THIEM: I hope so. It would be very nice to break into the Top 5 together with Sascha. Would be amazing, and, yeah, but here, I think that Rafa is the big favorite. Novak is coming, for sure behind him. And then Murray, you never know. He's such a big player. He can also play amazing here.

And after these three I think there are some players who can go very deep here who can make big surprises and to these players I count Sascha and myself.

Q. Actually, it's a question following on from that. You're talking about, talking about Rafael is the favorite. These are the older guys on the circuit. Are you surprised that they are still around? Because there are so many youngsters coming through who haven't seemed to make it quite yet. Is that frustrating or give you confidence that in fact the tennis career is now a lot longer than it perhaps used to be?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, I mean, they are so big players that it's I think normal that they are still so good with a little bit older age. But yeah, I wouldn't say that the younger players, they didn't make it. I mean, like, there is Milos or Kei that have been in the top 10 for a very long time. Everybody should know how tough it is. Because they didn't win a slam yet it doesn't mean that they didn't make it, because obviously the Big 4 are so strong that it's in this period really tough to win a big title.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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