September 25, 2020
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What has it been like for you since you won the title in Flushing Meadows? How long did it take you to get that out of your system, reset, look forward to the French, which obviously you've done well at the last couple years?
DOMINIC THIEM: I mean, it was not easy because on one hand I've achieved a life goal actually, so I was so happy, so relieved. I was enjoying that obviously at home with family and friends.
At the same time it's now a tournament coming up where I did great the last four years, where I really want to do great as well this year. I tried not to lose all the tension, tried not to do nothing for too long. I did nothing for three or four days, then I started to practice on clay.
But I'll see how I handle all the emotions, also all the physical challenges which happen in New York. In the past I was not that great playing the tournaments after big titles like Indian Wells last year or Vienna. I've always played not that great the following week.
I try to do it different here in Paris, try to be on top of my game from Monday on.
Q. You are now a Grand Slam champion. Did you go to Roland Garros thinking like a champion or a challenger?
DOMINIC THIEM: I felt great coming here because, as I said, I mean, I've achieved such a big goal. I mean, at one point whatever comes now is somehow a bonus. On the other hand, I want to do the best I can in every single tournament I play. Especially here in Roland Garros I had four crazy years with two semifinals, two finals. I love the conditions here. I love the whole tournament.
First practice yesterday I straightaway felt great with the conditions, with the clay, in the Suzanne Lenglen stadium. I tried to not think too much about US Open, but to see this as a new tournament, as a new challenge, to be as good as possible from the first point on.
Q. There's been a lot of talk about the challenging conditions, how difficult it might be for Rafa, who has played so well here. Nobody knows that better than you. Do you feel he's more vulnerable this year than in the past or do you dismiss that out of hand?
DOMINIC THIEM: First of all, I think he's always going to be the big-time favorite when he's playing, when he's healthy and fit. I think he is that, so he's the big favorite just because of the past. He won the tournament 12 times, which is just incredible. He's by far the best clay court player ever.
But there are some slight changes. I mean, the ball's a little bit different. I mean, they were my favorite balls on tour, they really were perfect for topspin. I also think Rafa liked them a lot. It can be super rainy, super cold end of September, beginning of October. Maybe that's little bit tougher for him.
For me, it's the same. I also love when it's hot, when the ball bounces high. Maybe it's little bit better conditions for Novak. As I said, I mean, Rafa is the huge favorite than Novak because of all his titles, all the experience. Then I guess there is coming me with three other players, like Sascha, Daniil and Stefanos.
Q. In New York you told us Nicolas Massu made you a better player on hard court, also changed you on the mental side of things. Now that both of you guys as a team reached the final last year, how different is the challenge for you and for Nico to come here? How will you approach this tournament?
DOMINIC THIEM: The whole approach is different because, luckily I have to say, I won the title, I was for a long time in New York. The preparation on clay was not ideal. I had two practice days in Austria, arrived two days ago here. I'm going to have four practice days here in Roland Garros. In total, six days practice on clay, which is not a lot.
I also have to see how I handle the New York title because obviously it was physically and mentally very demanding. I hope that I'm 100% ready on Monday.
All of that is a huge challenge for both of us, for all my team. But they are great. They are all the time preparing me really well for all the tournaments. So I hope they're going to do it again here in Paris.
Q. About the ball, have you practiced with it? How much have you prepared with it before? Was this the first time getting used to it since you've been in Paris?
DOMINIC THIEM: I practiced two days at home with the ball. Now, of course, here. As I said, I'm little bit sad because the Babolat at Roland Garros, it was my favorite ball, it was perfect. Obviously it was the ball from my racquet company. Was fast, was taking the spin incredibly well.
But the Wilson ball is good, as well. It's just a little bit slower. It gets a little bit bigger after a while. In general, the conditions are going to be slower. It can be rainy, can be very cold. So we will see.
Again, it's mentally a big challenge with these tough conditions. I think there are going to be whole matches in rainy conditions, which is tough.
It's similar like New York: the guys who will handle all the tough conditions, circumstances the best, they will go the furthest in the tournament.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports