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May 30, 2019

Dominic Thiem

Paris, France

D. THIEM/A. Bublik.

6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. Couple matches in a row you've been tested, I guess you could say. How do you view those? Your thoughts?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, today was very difficult. It was a tough matchup for me because there were almost no rallies. He almost served only first serves underarm serves. He gave me no rhythm at all. He did it very good, actually.

But for me it was very tough. I didn't find any rhythm. Because of that, I mean, because of that, there were not many baseline rallies. I was playing really bad once I got into the rally, which made it even more difficult.

And generally it was a strange match, I think. Somehow the fire never got there. It was four close sets, only two hours 30, almost a fifth. But was really strange somehow.

Probably for spectator nice to watch because he played so different, but for me it was very tough. And at the end, I'm only happy that I'm through this four sets.

Q. Did you know the underhand serve was coming or was it a surprise and how were you able to deal with this mentally?
DOMINIC THIEM: No. I mean, I expected it. To be honest, it's a good choice against players like us who are that far behind the baseline. There is nothing bad about it. And, I mean, I was prepared for that, so that was no problem.

But, I mean, for me it was tough because I had difficulties to find the good return position. And the two breaks I made, I think he got a little bit tight end of second set, end of fourth set.

So in general was just a tough match and with many difficulties he was putting me into.

Q. You said you expected the underhand serve. Did you practice it or anything like that or you just kind of think guys are going to go with it?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, I didn't practice it, but just expected it from time to time. And, I mean, at least he didn't hit me an ace, but I think he won two out of three. So as I said, there's nothing wrong about it. It's sometimes quite a good tactic.

But some players do it well, him, Kyrgios. And against these guys you have to be prepared to sometimes make a sprint when you return.

Q. You talked about your backhand earlier this week. Can you maybe tell about the process of changing from a two-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand when you were at the age of 12, I think? How difficult was that for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: Very difficult because, I mean, I played a good -- or I didn't miss anything with the two-handed backhand. It was a big, big change because, before that, I never played a one-handed backhand.

But was the right change because, I mean, now I have so many options, slice. A good topspin with the one-handed backhand I think is possible to create more topspin with the one-handed than with the two-handed. Of course there are also some disadvantages. I think the return is easier with a two-handed backhand.

But in general it was a right decision. And especially on clay, for me, it's better to have a one-handed, but it was a difficult process.

Q. Your results went down at that age the first years when you played with it. Can you talk about that?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, they went down rapidly. I mean, I was No. 1, by far, the under 12, and then I changed it. On the 14, I was only -- I don't know -- 15 or something. So I really lost a lot of matches.

But at that age, I mean, everything is fine. Everything is almost only fun, so I didn't really think about it. And after two years or something, results were coming back. And when I started to think a lot about the tennis and everything, the results were fine again.

Q. Was it a bit of satisfaction to get your own drop shot on the first match point after all his drop shots?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, I also played a lot of drop shots. Probably too many, but they were working okay. The one on the match point was good.

And I was happy that match was over because it was close and so close to a fifth set, which is always difficult.

So it was, I would say, not really -- I mean, it was a special match today. I think it's not going to happen again that fast, or against Cuevas for sure not.

So I'm happy that I made this challenge, and it's time to move on and to improve everything now.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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