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October 2, 2019

Zhang Zhizhen

Beijing, China

D. THIEM/Zhang Zhizhen

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. It seemed like your strategy tonight was to get to the net against Thiem. Was that you were thinking about coming in?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: Well, first he stay pretty far sometimes, so I try to win the point in net. I don't want to stay too long in the baseline with him.

Q. What is it like playing against the No. 5 ranked player in the world?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: I mean, you mean it feels or what?

Q. Just Thiem specifically.

Q. Yes.
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: I mean, play really simple. I don't find any chance to break him, especially when he serves. I think I got zero breakpoint. Really good serve. It's like wall there.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.

Q. What did you learn from how he played?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: What kind of inspiration, do you mean?

Q. When you were in rallies, he was standing behind three or four meters from the baseline. When he approached the net, he was very aggressive. This is quite different from your style.
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: Of course, we play differently. Secondly, he stayed back behind the baseline. He had time to return, but I didn't want that kind of distance from the baseline because I was used to approaching the net.

If I returned close to the net, he came forward quickly. This is something I should learn. But it wasn't the overall strategy.

Q. First time to play a top five player. Of course you discussed with your coach your strategy. Can you talk about how you prepared for this match? Were you able to execute the plan?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: I don't think you can have any good plan against a top five player. If you have this good plan, can you execute it well, that would be too simple. That would be a very easy solution.

We didn't really discuss that much about how to play a top five player. We understand his advantages, his game, and also something I should focus on with my style. If you can do it well, there's no set solution to play against such a player like him.

Q. From Zhuhai to Beijing you have played four matches. What have you learned the most? Next in Shanghai, you're facing tougher opponents. Do you want to play a top player or a lower-ranked player?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: Out of the four matches I've learned a lot. I think what I have learned the most is in the matches these four opponents were very calm, but I had some up and downs in my mood. Probably the spectators couldn't see it, but I could feel it. This is something I should really improve.

My plan for Shanghai? I don't know, I don't have any preferences. I'm not sure whether I will meet a top player or lower-ranked players.

They're all top 100. Everyone is tough. Just go with the draw and do my best.

Q. Another question about the match. The first three service games you were able to hold, but the fourth you were broken. Was it something that top players could do well in those key moments, something you could learn from?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: In the first and second sets, I think my first serve wasn't that good. I didn't convert points on those first serves. Most of my points came from shots that actually I had to play really the best of my game. I think he has a really strong defense.

I don't think I could convert that many points from approaching the net or strategies. I'm sure I made errors. But when I made errors, he was able to convert those points. I wasn't surprised that I made errors.

Q. Andy Murray commented on your performance in Zhuhai. He was impressed. He said you played well. Thiem said you are very likely to go onto the top 100. Do you feel you have improved in terms of your level of confidence? A lot of people think that men players in China do not have that level of confidence.
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: It was nice to hear those comments. Out of these past matches, I think I have recognized my own performance and I think that boosted my confidence.

Q. This is your first time to play than the center court. Did you feel nervous, excited?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: I was very nervous, of course. Before I entered the court, I was very nervous. Well, it was a big court. I thought I would pay attention to the spectators. However, when I was in the court, I only focused on my match.

But at first I was a little bit nervous. The first five minutes when I was warming up, my serve was long in the first game, so I was very nervous.

Q. These events in China are your home turf. Is it a good chance to meet with the foreign players here?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: Well, it really takes time. Depends on the schedule of each player. In the past two days, I was able to practice with some Chinese players. But in previous practices, we prefer to practice with foreign players.

I think will practice with Chinese players as well as take the opportunity to work without with foreign players, too.

Q. Yesterday was the national day. You finished a match two takes ago. You were prepping for the match today. How did you celebrate yesterday?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: Well, I finished my match two days ago. Yesterday my schedule was from midday into the afternoon I practiced for two hours. In the morning I watched the parade, of course everyone did. So I just watched the parade. That was the only additional thing I did yesterday.

Q. Do you think you play enough matches? Do you have enough support in terms of your team members? What do you need time proof your performance?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: I'm not show sure about your question.

Q. In terms of sponsorship, funding? Do you have money to hire coaches? Your ranking is rising. No. 1 among Chinese men players. People have high expectations. Are you working towards more sponsorship?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: I think I have enough matches. Last year I lost many matches, but I still played enough matches. Because I play that many matches, more or less the same.

In terms of funding, it's adequate I would say, not lacking, but it was enough. It was enough. It was enough for me.

Q. After this match, I think sponsors would be interested. Do you have any plan to get more support from these brands?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: Well, if anyone is interested, I'm fine. But it's out of my scope. It has to go to my manager, I think.

I don't think they would go directly to me. I would refer them to my manager.

Q. People physically speaking you are one of the top players in China. You're big with a good serve. What's your comment?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: My comments on myself? Stamina, not good enough. Movement, a bit slower but not quick enough. Average. It's an average score. Out of 10 I would give myself 6.5 or 7.

Q. Today is your first day to have more people be familiar with you. Do you have a goal for the future for your career?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: My goal is top 150.

Q. What timeframe?
ZHANG ZHIZHEN: For my whole life, before I retire. Top 50 is pretty good. It's not that I won't retire if I don't get into the top 50, but my end goal is top 50 in five years before the next Olympics. Within three years I'll do my best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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