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June 8, 2018

Dominic Thiem

Paris, France

D. THIEM/M. Cecchinato

7-5, 7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Is this a breakthrough, one step further today? Can you express your emotions in the very crucial tiebreak in the second set? What happened there?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I don't think it's a real breakthrough. I mean, I played semis last two years, so just went one step further today.

The second-set tiebreak was the big key to the match, 100%, because obviously he felt all the matches from these two weeks after that. And if he would have won the tiebreak, he would be full power, for sure, in the third set. So it was good for me that I won it.

Q. What did you think about Marco Cecchinato after you play with him? What do you expect for the rest of the season about him?
DOMINIC THIEM: On clay, I expect that he will be -- or he is a really good player. I mean, you don't come to a Grand Slam semifinals by accident. He beat really good players. He was fighting his way through in the first rounds.

And it's not that he had a run, you know. He has a very solid game. So if he continues it that way, especially on clay, he's going to be a great player.

Q. 1995, Thomas Muster was here as the first Austrian in the finals. Probably you didn't really see that match. You were really young. What's your relationship, and has he sent any encouragement, messages?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, he send a message to my physio because they work together. We have a special relationship because of the match we played when he made his comeback in Vienna.

Like, this was his last ATP match of his second career, let's say, and that's why. And, yeah, we see each other every year in Vienna, and that's it.

Q. Is he a role model for you, having won Paris?
DOMINIC THIEM: He's a role model for every Austrian tennis player. He's the biggest in our sport in Austria. And that's why, even though I'm a little bit too young for him, he's still a role model for everyone.

Q. We mentioned early in the week that Rafa Nadal had said it's has been very difficult to win a Grand Slam over the last ten years because it has been dominated by four or five players. And now you are one of the leading players from a younger generation winning on the ATP Tour. What is the challenge of facing Rafa, and do you have the confidence that Roland Garros could be your first Grand Slam win?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, first of all, he has to win today. It's still very early in the match.

But he's a big favorite against everybody. Still, I know how to play against him. I have a plan. If it's going to be him on Sunday, I will try everything that my plan also going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome.

Q. Can you also comment on the way you match up with Juan Martin?
DOMINIC THIEM: We had a legendary match in US Open (laughter), which was very painful for me. But obviously I think he's, after the big four, one of the biggest players in the last decade. Maybe we will talk about big five if he wouldn't have all his injuries.

He's a very great player, and I think in a Grand Slam finals it's great. And it's a huge challenge to play against anyone.

Q. We all know that you have very big weapons, but is the mental part also important to make the final step on a Grand Slam?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, for sure. It's not easy at all.

But the most important thing is still that the weapons are there and the physical shape and, of course, there is also mental part, for sure.

Q. Can you talk a little about playing another player with a single-fisted backhand? Is it a more equal mentality when you play someone who hits his backhand like you, and is it more difficult when you play someone who hits two-handed like Rafa?
DOMINIC THIEM: I like to play against guys with a one-handed backhand because maybe some things are a little bit easier against them. Maybe you can build a point a little bit easier against them if you play some high balls on the backhand. Everybody with a single-handed backhand has some problems there.

So I really like it. But I played against Tsitsipas and now Marco with a single-handed backhand. They both have a great one. So it's tough, anyways.

Q. What can you take away from your wins against Rafa on clay? You have won against him three times already and lately, as well.
DOMINIC THIEM: For sure I can take some things off that. If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid.

But I'm also aware that here it's tougher. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure. Best of five is also different story.

I think also a good thing is that I faced him already twice here.

Q. Finalists at Grand Slams face pressure, sometimes for different reasons, from the media and from tennis fans, and there is an element of pressure when you walk out on to the court. How do you deal with the pressure? Does it hold you back or is it something that you thrive on and embrace?
DOMINIC THIEM: Of course there is pressure especially in Grand Slam finals, because I went a very long way now and I don't want to lose the finals; otherwise, it's not a very nice feeling. But on the other hand, it's so tough to go all the way in such a tournament.

I think if I'm facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure (smiling).

Q. Your military service really sets you apart from most of your contemporaries. Of course we have all read that you did it and you juggled both. But what about that service transfers to tennis, either mentally or physically?
DOMINIC THIEM: Nothing (smiling). Zero. I'm not a big fan of the military service. It was a pain in the ass these three, four weeks, seriously.

I mean, that's all I can say. Yeah, didn't help the start of the 2015 season. I'm just glad that it's over (smiling).

Q. It is something that, I mean, you had to do that you didn't want to do, clearly, and puts you among people who have not had a privileged a life as professional athletes. So is there something to take away from that for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, again. Sorry, sorry. I didn't understand it.

Q. So you were made to do something that was not convenient, and you also served with other young men who are not from privileged backgrounds and don't have the lifestyle that you have earned. So does that give you anything, more motivation on the tennis court?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, it's obligatory in Austria, and I have to say that I didn't do all the way what the others have to do.

So I was also privileged on this one because I'm athlete. I only had to do four weeks, and the others have to stay six months there. So the athletes are also privileged in that way.

But still it was not helpful for my start of the next tennis season. In general, I didn't like it (smiling).

Q. Again, Italy had a nice way in this tournament. You know all the story. You played against Berrettini and now against Cecchinato. What do you think about both players? You can make a comparison with them?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that Italy always has great players. Now I think there are some young ones coming up like Berrettini. He's a great player. It wasn't a very nice match against him in the third round, and he will also come up in the ranking very soon.

Marco, if he holds his level the same, and he's not that old, either. He's just one year older than me. And you have still Fabio.

So you have a very, very nice bunch of players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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