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September 6, 2020

Dominic Thiem

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

D. THIEM/M. Cilic

6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You said on court you're almost 100%, not quite there yet. What are you most focused on improving?

DOMINIC THIEM: I think it comes automatically the things I improve with every match on this high level. I improve basically everything in my game. I think also here at this tournament it got better each match.

Today was a good match against a great champion. First two sets came pretty easy. I think he came out a little bit slow also because of the tough matches he had in the opening rounds. He gave me some little mistakes.

I had luck that I was breaking him in the opening games of the first two sets, which always helps a lot against these big servers. Then he raised his level a lot in sets three and four. Good tennis, very close. Probably would have gone to a fifth when I don't save these breakpoints at I think was 2-All.

In general was a good, close match. I'm happy. But, yeah, of course I have to improve to get the chance to get further.

Q. When do you remember first seeing Felix and becoming aware of him?

DOMINIC THIEM: I mean, I'm into tennis a lot. Of course, I always know when there are very good young players coming up. It's the same with Carlos Alcaraz now. We know that these guys are going to be super good, that it's only a question of time until they get to the very top.

With Felix it was the same. I think when he was only 16 or something he won his first challenger in France I remember. Then last year he played finals in the Rio, played great in Indian Wells, semis in Miami. He was right at the top.

I mean, he's a great player, as I said. No real weaknesses. Great to watch. Great athlete, great person. The only thing what he's missing is the experience. That's what I'm trying to play for my advantage. It's not my first second week at a slam, but it's his. That's probably my biggest advantage what I have in this match.

I'm looking forward to it. I'm always looking forward to play against these young superstars, as I'm 27 for a few days, not young any more. I think going to be a great encounter.

Q. When you go into a tournament like the US Open, do you think back to your other performances at the majors, specifically at the US Open?

DOMINIC THIEM: Normally I do, yeah. Normally I love the slams because most of the times I did well in slams. This US Open you just cannot compare to anything because usually, even when I played not the greatest tennis in summer, I was really looking forward to New York City, to Manhattan, to the energy, the night sessions.

But everything is not possible this year. All of the special things about the US Open, except being here, is not here actually. It's super different. But, yeah, I mean, it's also experience we have to do actually because these weird times don't allow anything else.

That's how I also went into this slam. It's something completely new, a new experience. It's going good so far. I'm very happy to be in the second week.

Q. Diego Schwartzman is one of your best friends on the tour. What do you think about his disappointing tour in New York? What do you think about the problems suffered by Pella and Dellien before Cincinnati?

DOMINIC THIEM: Diego, I mean, I think he was also unlucky because he was very, very long time in quarantine in Argentina. Maybe he was not practicing as much as other guys. Of course, this is also something special at this tournament, that some guys had a little bit more luck in their countries with the COVID situation, like me in Austria, like other guys where it was a little bit more relaxed.

I think Diego was almost three months in quarantine without practicing. Of course, he needs time. He needs tournaments to get in shape again. He's now in Austria. I hope he's doing well there, enjoying the country.

Hugo and Guido, it was very, very difficult situation, very tough situation. I'm very, very sorry for them, what happened to them. Well, I mean, they were all the time negative, so probably would have been better if they could play. It's not our decision. It's not their decision. So we couldn't do anything for them.

Well, I wish them all the best for the next tournaments.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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