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May 8, 2021

Dominic Thiem

Madrid, Spain

Press Conference

A. ZVEREV/D. Thiem

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. If you look back at your performance today, are there some things you would like to change?

DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, if I look back now, I wouldn't change too much. I mean, it was just not enough against Sascha, who played well I think. I think if you, for example, look back on the last game, he served 227, 228. You cannot do too much. He was just the better player today. I 100% accept that.

In general I'm super happy with the week. I would have never expected to be in the semifinals, to play in the semifinals a player like him. I cannot complain about anything.

Just, of course, there are many things to improve for next week and then for the weeks after, as well. Just try to get to Rome, get some good practices in there, then hopefully play even better than here in Madrid.

Q. In your first tournament back after your sabbatical, what are you most proud of? Are you pleased with your mental approach, the way you were able to make the semifinals?

DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, as I said it was a way better result than I expected. Playing-wise and physically-wise I expected to be in a decent shape. But, of course, there are still many things to improve just to keep all intensity for all the week, day in, day out.

Of course, some of the strokes, they need a little improvement. But I'm very optimistic that every week I'm playing now it's going to improve. Especially for the confidence it was important to get a great result here.

I'm happy that I think I'm on the right track.

Q. Given the fact that the French Open was last played only seven months ago, there are so many clay court matches, tournaments going on right now, and the clay court matches tend to be longer and more grueling on the body, is there any damage to bodies, or is the soft surface more forgiving?

DOMINIC THIEM: To me it's more demanding physically to play on hard court. I mean, of course not for the heart and everything, it tougher to play on clay because they're way longer rallies. But for the joints and the feet, it's way more comfortable to play on clay.

As I also grew up on that surface, it doesn't really bother me to play many matches on there. But, well, it might be different for other players who grew up on hard court. But for me it's a little bit easier and more comfortable physically to play on clay.

Q. Was it just a coincidence that you took this time off and did this reset after winning your first major after the pandemic or did the pandemic shape your mental outlook, your mental fatigue, your enthusiasm at all?

DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I think the pandemic played a little part of it definitely because I think it's mentally little bit more demanding to be in a bubble, to play in front of empty seats.

But the main reason was that I won the first major, that I reached basically my lifetime goal. So, of course, it's tough to just continue like before. That was the main reason, that I just had to, well, think about it, regroup myself. That took a little bit of time.

Q. After the match you and Sascha had a nice exchange. Talk about your rivalry with him, playing these big matches against him. Can you share a little bit about what you said?

DOMINIC THIEM: No, I mean, I just wished him good luck. He afterwards said that he messed up the handshake basically (smiling).

No, the rivalry and also the friendship is nice. I think we both came similar times on tour. I think today was the 11th or 12th match. Always big matches, Masters finals, Grand Slam finals, ATP Finals in late stages. I hope that there are many more to come.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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