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May 5, 2019

Dominic Thiem

Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. This year you have won your first Masters 1000 and you come from winning Barcelona. I don't know if you feel any extra pressure now when facing this tournament?
DOMINIC THIEM: I obviously feel really good coming into this tournament. I just won my biggest title on clay which was an amazing week. But I think it doesn't matter for this tournament because all the best players in the world are here. It's completely different conditions than in Barcelona. But I'm always very happy to come back here.

I played finals two previous years. I feel very good here with the altitude and with the little bit of special conditions. So, I hope that I can keep my good form.

Q. I think a lot of people's mentality towards you on clay has shifted even more this year given those wins in Indian Wells and the way you beat Rafa last week in Barcelona. Do you feel you are the favorite coming here? Do you put yourself coming and believing I'm the guy that's going to win this tournament?
DOMINIC THIEM: I don't think so. I mean, as long as Rafa is playing, he will always be the No. 1 favorite on clay. He's by far the best player ever on this surface. So, it's -- one win more or less is not going to change this fact.

But I think after him, there is a small group of players which can be, which can go very far at each clay-court tournament as well and I think I'm in this group as well.

Q. What do you like the most here in Madrid in this tournament?
DOMINIC THIEM: I like the conditions a lot, the little bit of altitude, very dry air. So I think it's the fastest clay-court tournament. And the whole La Caja Mágica is magic (laughing), it's very nice. And one special thing for me is the food in the players' lounge, it's from an Austrian company, so it feeds very well.

Q. I guess you know that David Ferrer is retiring at this tournament. I would like to know if you have any memories with him that you can share with us and what is your opinion on his career?
DOMINIC THIEM: His career is outstanding and I feel very sad that he's stopping, but he really deserves it, he has one of the best careers ever, I would say.

And for me it's pretty special because I watch him on the television ten, 15 years ago, how he played all the big matches. And then three years ago, I played against him myself. I played against him two times. Was very, very nice experiences. And so I wish him only the best. He's a great player, great guy. So tennis will miss him for sure.

Q. I saw you -- Pique you to the Barcelona football ground in Barcelona. What was that like and also as a football fan, is it at all strange to see an active successful footballer kind of involved in the running of this sport?
DOMINIC THIEM: It was very nice to be -- to watch a little bit of their practice. I mean, I really love football, so it's nice for me not to only see the matches, but also see a little bit, how they practice and how their daily life is basically there in the practice grounds.

And about the other thing, we will see. But I think it's going to be a great event in November.

Q. How did you assess the form of Rafa in your match in Barcelona? You played great and he said he felt like he was getting better and better. But from your side of the court, what did you think of it?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that -- I played against him already in many stages of his game, I would say. When I beat him first in Buenos Aires three years ago, he was not playing really well and I played him 2017, 2018 when it was very cruel to play him on clay, I would say.

And I think he hasn't reached that level yet in Barcelona, but still it was a very good game and I think that he's on the way back to the amazing level he had '17 and '18. But, I mean, it's already amazing, with the injury he had in Indian Wells, to be back at this level already now and I think he's only getting stronger the further the clay season gets.

Q. You have spoken about Rafa as being the favorite for this tournament. What do you think about Roger coming back to clay?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that Roger is also one of the best players on this surface of all time. The only thing that stopped him so many times is Rafa. Probably if Rafa wouldn't be there, he would win five or six Roland Garros titles. And even now he has amazing career, win-loss on clay. And I think he also feels comfortable on the surface. He grew up on it as well for sure in Switzerland. He knows how to move and everything. So, doesn't matter where or which tournaments he plays, he will always be one of the favorites.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in German.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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