September 3, 2020
New York, New York, USA
D. THIEM/S. Nagal
6-3, 6-3, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You had the fantastic match with Rafael in 2018, quarterfinal, night match on Arthur Ashe. Talk about some of the details of that match, what you remember about it, and also what you learned from it.
DOMINIC THIEM: I still love to remember that match, as it was 100% one of the three best matches I've ever played. Great atmosphere out there. I remember already the round before against Anderson, who was back then the finalist of US Open, '17, I played great tennis. I kept that good feeling until the quarterfinals against Rafa.
I think we both played on a good level. Was almost five hours. Great match of tennis. Of course, I was really disappointed not to get the win back then. It helped me to play a great finish of that year, gave me a big boost of confidence. Right after I played a great Davis Cup tie. I won St. Petersburg, I won semis, Paris Bercy where I qualified for the ATP Finals. That gave me a huge boost for the rest of the season.
Definitely it's something I will remember forever. I love to watch the highlights or sometimes even the whole match when I'm bored or when I try to relive the feeling somehow (smiling). Definitely great moments for me to remember.
Q. Details about the atmosphere?
DOMINIC THIEM: Was my first night match on Arthur Ashe back then. I think the matchup with Rafa is most of the times great, great rallies, very attractive rallies. In general it's amazing to share the court with him. I think we like each other a lot, respect each other a lot, have had many battles already.
The atmosphere was great. I think we both delivered quite good on that day.
Q. About your opponent today, what did you think of his game?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think it was a good game in general from both of us. I was playing well today, I also have to say. I had a good plan for the match. He's very dangerous when he can dictate with his forehand. I was exactly trying to avoid that.
He has also very, very fast legs. He's moving around very quick on the court. I was trying to play my fastest tennis to keep him on the backhand, to not let him dictate with the forehand. I did that very well today.
I think the only bad game he played was at 4-3 for me in the first set where he kind of came back into the match after he broke me, then he did some unforced errors. Beside of that, I think it was a good match on a quite good level. I'm happy to be through in straight sets, yeah.
Q. How would you describe Marin Cilic and your thoughts on playing him in the next round?
DOMINIC THIEM: He's one of the big champions of the last decade, one of the very few players, active players, who won a Grand Slam tournament here in New York, of course, as everybody knows.
I mean, not from the players, but from outside perspective, he's underrated because he achieved almost everything what you can achieve as a tennis player: Grand Slam champion, Masters 1000 champion, played two other finals in a Grand Slam. As I said, definitely one of the best players of the last decade, true champion.
Even though for sure he's not on the top of his game, beginning of this year, maybe also last year, he's always dangerous for a big and deep run in these big tournaments. It's not a guy I want to face in the third round as he's a former champion. On a good day he can beat anybody. Going to be a real tough one.
Q. The atmosphere on Arthur Ashe during the Nadal match particularly with the fans must have been incredible. It's going to be very different this year no matter how far you go. Just comment on that, talk about how you deal with that mentally.
DOMINIC THIEM: It's tough and is also a little bit sad, for sure. I try to push myself more because usually the fans help you with that a lot.
It's strange and negative, but also positive moments. In negative moments the fans' energy can get you up again. In positive moments, I think today there were some very, very good points. In your head there is the feeling or the memory that if you play a great point, the stadium goes crazy. Now you play a great point and it's complete silence. That is tough.
It is how it is, the situation. Hopefully this is the only or one of very few slams where we have the situation like that.
Q. What happened with the Red Bull can?
DOMINIC THIEM: It's not allowed, the Red Bull can, on court, which is completely fine. I know that. Sometimes it helps me a lot on court, so I want to have it. I can also drink it in a plain cup. There was a little bit of a conversation. Well, I don't want to tell the details now. It was a little bit awkward, I guess. Next time I'm going to go with a plain cup, that's it (smiling).
Q. On camera it caught you talking about anti-doping.
DOMINIC THIEM: No, they wanted to go out with the open can and fill it in a plain cup without me observing it. That's what pissed me off a little bit because the anti-doping rules are so strict. I don't want to lose the can out of my sight. In general, they are so strict rules these days, and they propose me to fill the can in a plain cup without me observing it. That pissed me off a little bit.
But, well, it was just a little thing. Nothing happened at the end.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports