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September 28, 2020

Dominic Thiem

Paris, France

Press Conference

D. THIEM/M. Cilic

6-4, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations on the US Open. I want to ask you about the popularity of tennis, because I was looking at the US Open figures, and I'm not going to quote the exact figures, but it was about a million less than a Federer final or Djokovic, Nadal final. I wanted to ask you, if those three go, do you think you or the people around you, like Zverev and Tsitsipas, can match those numbers in viewing figures to stay in the popularity of tennis?

DOMINIC THIEM: I think it's normal, because Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, they are like global superstars, and we are not yet. I guess we have to build it up like they did.

I think there is a chance to do it, but it comes automatically with a lot of success. That's our challenge to do.

But I think that we are not going to have a problem, because for me, like the new generation, or also my generation, they are super-good characters, interesting characters, a lot of star potential there.

The only thing what we are missing is the huge success. But I guess that there are less viewers or less interest if Roger, Rafa, and Novak are not there much. It's normal, because as I said, they are global superstars, and I hope we are on the way there.

Q. There was an online survey on L'Equipe's website which said that 52% of voters thought Nadal will not win the French Open. This is very unusual, because in most years, it would have been 75, 80, 85% or higher who would have said he would. Wondering what you think of that statistic and if you think it's possibly accurate or not accurate?

DOMINIC THIEM: For me, he's the huge favorite here. Obviously it's a lot of different things going on this year with way less crowd, with the tournament going on three or four months later. It's cold conditions.

But with his name and with his past here at the tournament, he's still the huge favorite. Honestly, I don't know where that statistics is coming from. I don't know (smiling).

Q. Have you ever played the perfect match? If so, when might that have been?

DOMINIC THIEM: For me, a perfect match doesn't exist in tennis. Probably the best set ever or the almost perfect set I played against Rafa in New York, we were 6-0, because everything worked out there. Even if you play super good, you still make mistakes, or at least me, I have in my head there are things to improve. So I guess tennis is somehow a sport where a perfect match doesn't really exist.

Q. You have enjoyed a lot of success over the last few years due to your skill and talent. They also say that "Thiem-work makes the dream work." How much of your success is due to your own individual team effort and how much of your success is a Thiem team effort?

DOMINIC THIEM: Like, no success is possible without my team. They are great, and like me on court, they are giving 100% -- well, some guys off the court, and then Nico also on the court.

Even though tennis is an individual sport, probably one of the most individual sports, it's tricky because you need a super-good team around, otherwise it won't work out. And without that team, even the best individual won't work. So for me my team, they have a huge part of the success.

Q. Can you give us the impression of this first match, conditions-wise, your level and et cetera?

DOMINIC THIEM: My level was good. I was very happy with the way I played from the beginning to the end basically.

Conditions, I'm used to them or I know how to play in those kind of conditions obviously because in Austria, we have many days like that. And then from junior times and when I started to play professional on the futures in March in Croatia or Czech Republic, there were many tournaments with similar conditions. Cold, heavy balls.

So it's not really something new for me, and it helps against guys like Marin, because it's a little bit easier to return many serves back in the court and to run down almost every ball.

So I like these conditions. And anyway, we have to do the best we can, because it's a very special year.

Q. You talked before the tournament about this being a mental challenge obviously after winning your first Grand Slam. I wondered, in a way, was it good to start against a champion player, someone you obviously know is going to be a really tough opponent to make sure you're on it right from the start?

DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, I try to be 100% no matter the opponent. But maybe there is some little extra motivation or some extra percent in myself, because I know that I have to play my best tennis to beat Marin because of all the things he achieved and because he's still playing really, really good.

The main challenge was to have or to get the match tension again. Because, I mean, I was on fire in New York for two weeks, and then one week at home where I tried to relax but not lose all the tension, because obviously I want to do well here in Paris.

I guess I found a good mixture, and I'm very happy with this first round today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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