May 7, 2021
D. THIEM/J. Isner
3-6, 6-3, 6-4
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. During your on-court interview, you acknowledged that John Isner is one of the best servers in tennis history. Could you share with us your insight of what is it like to stand back and face one of his first serves.
DOMINIC THIEM: I think it's comparable, well, to a goalkeeper in a penalty. If he places it well, if it has the right speed, there's just no time to react. You either have to guess or hope that he's missing the first serve. It's just pure luck actually to return it. It's like a 50/50 chance. That's why it's so, so tough.
It's not only the first serve, it's the second as well, which has such a high bounce. Well, you go close, return it, which is unbelievable tough, especially here on clay in altitude, or you go five, six meters back behind the baseline. He has a lot of time to come in the net.
It's just incredibly tough to be a returner against him.
Q. Up until recently you always played a lot of matches, you love to play tournaments, you played a lot. Now you've taken your break. Do you think you will play less in the future and what difference might that make?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I plan to play less tournaments. I hope that I still play a lot of matches, no? If I play less tournaments, but play well there, it still means a lot of matches.
But I think that I just need little bit time off from time to time to regroup, to resettle. I think everybody does it. I mean, when I was 21, 22, my first years on tour, or 23, I also played week after week. You can deal with it, no? Now, with all the years of experience, I think I'm also able to play well after as long a break as I could see here now.
Q. If you look back at your first three matches here in Madrid, what element of your game would you say is most pleasing for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: Pretty much I'm pleased with everything of my game. I played three very different opponents. Everything is working quite well. I mean, the groundstrokes are working well. The serve was pretty good all the time. The return, today especially in some parts of the game, was very good.
I guess that I'm on the right way definitely. But still many things to improve, getting 100% back in the match rhythm, anticipation and everything.
In general, as I said, I feel like I'm back on the right track. That what makes me pleased.
Q. You said before the tournament that you had no particular expectation, just getting the rhythm of competition. It's strange according to your ranking. Are you in a way surprised to be in the semifinal?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yes, I am surprised to be in the semifinals. I didn't expect that. I was just expecting to hopefully play one or two good matches here against top opponents. Now I'm in the semis and facing Rafa or Sascha tomorrow. That's amazingly good to get at least four matches on a top level.
But it's also a big surprise for me, and definitely didn't expect that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports