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May 27, 2019

Dominic Thiem

Paris, France

D. THIEM/T. Paul

6-4, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. That was maybe a little bit crazier than you expected. Is it sometimes good to have such a difficult experience early, sort of clear the nerves out for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, it was definitely difficult, but I didn't expect at all an easy match.

I mean, I wasn't playing my best today, that's for sure. But, I mean, we all could see what happens if I don't play my best tennis. He was playing amazing then. It was very, very close. And of course the key moment of the match was the tiebreak in the third set.

Q. You played really well here at Roland Garros last year. Is there anything from that experience that you have learned that you think can help you this year, or is this year just another year and you start again?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, sure, I did a lot of -- I made a lot of experience already here. I tried out everything, basically. 2016 and last year I came here with the tournament before, with a title before, actually, which was amazing for the confidence but not a lot of rest. 2017 and this year, I came without a tournament the previous weeks. So I tried out everything.

'17 and last year I had basically easier scores in the first round. And three years ago and today was really, really tough with both years almost (indiscernible) two sets. So I experienced everything already here. Of course that helps. It's a good thing if I know that I experienced all that stuff already.

Q. I think you practiced yesterday with Cristian Garin. Curious what you make of his game, especially on clay. He's won 20 matches already. What do you see in him as a player?
DOMINIC THIEM: I really like him as a player. He's really good and talented backhand, and the forehand with a lot of spin. I think he serves well. I mean, I never played him in a match, but we just practiced Barcelona and here.

And I also think he serves well, but he won two titles already and played a very solid clay court season. I think he has the potential for a lot, and I like him. He's a very nice guy. I hope to see him on the top soon.

Q. Obviously there are some young players with one-handed backhand, but the statistics suggest the one-handed backhand will be extinct in 10, 12 years on pro level. How do you see it? Are there in Austria young players following in your footsteps? And maybe you can explain a little bit what are the advantages and disadvantages of the one-handed backhand compared to the double-hander.
DOMINIC THIEM: I think in Austria is only my brother with the one-handed backhand. I think he's the only guy. All the others are two-handed (smiling).

It's a tough shot. Some things are tougher, but if you have a good one you also have a lot of advantages. Like most of the players with the one-handed backhand, they have a good slice.

Of course you have a better reach. If you have a good one like you see with Stefanos or with Denis Shapovalov, they are two amazing young players, which are, I don't know, 19, 20, who have probably 15 years in front of them with a really good one-handed backhand. Stefanos is on the very top already, top 10. Shapovalov will be there probably, as well.

So I disagree. It's not going to be extinct (smiling).

Q. I know you have been asked this before, but in the men's draw this year, there are three players who have won lots of Grand Slams. There are also a group of younger players, including yourself, that have been tipped to win Grand Slams in future. So what will it take for one of the young players to break through and finally win a Grand Slam?
DOMINIC THIEM: It's a very long way to win a Grand Slam. That's what I experienced last year here. The tough thing is that we young players, to win a Grand Slam, probably we have to beat two of these guys who won 15 or more Grand Slams. And, yeah, that alone says that it's very, very tough.

Q. You said that you didn't feel you played your best today. I'm wondering what you think you want to improve on now in the next few rounds? What did you not like about your performance today?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that in general, I'm playing very well. I mean, I was a little bit tight maybe today. Was long days before the tournament practice and of course a lot of things going on in my head. I was a little bit nervous.

I was really looking forward to the match. It was taking long until I could step on court today, and then I didn't feel really good. Didn't play my best tennis.

He really took advantage of that, also. He made it very tough for me out there. The most positive thing I am taking from the match today is the fourth set, because I freed myself. I played way faster, way tougher for him. I moved him around way more. That's what I tried to build up on this fourth set.

And of course, I mean, I was tough and fighting all the time and turning around. 0-4 in a breaker is nice for the confidence and for the fighting spirit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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