June 6, 2019
D. THIEM/K. Khachanov
6-2, 6-4, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. After a kind of tough beginning in the tournament, it seems like you increase your level since the match against GaÃ«l very much. Is that the level you wanted to play since the beginning?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I think every match I got better and better. First two opponents were very tough because they also didn't give any rhythm, and they didn't have anything to lose. So these were two very tough matches.
From the third round on, it got a lot better. And for sure the match against GaÃ«l and also today was very good. I'm happy with the way I'm playing.
Q. Whatever happens, in order to win your first Grand Slam, you're going to have to beat two of the best three players in the world and possibly three of the best of all time. Without putting any pressure on yourself, do you think you're in a position where you're able to do that?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, I'm fourth time now in the semifinals. And I was playing Djokovic, Nadal, Cecchinato, Djokovic, which is really tough.
And that's what I always said. I mean, it's incredibly difficult to win a Grand Slam. Because especially for us players who didn't have one yet, because if everything goes quite normal, we have to beat two players with 15 or more Grand Slams. So I think everybody can imagine how difficult this is.
But I will step on the court tomorrow, try everything, of course, give everything. I hope it's going to be positive in the end, but the challenge is huge. Novak is in very good shape again, probably playing his best tennis of his life.
I'm in the semifinals with maybe the three best players of all time, so everybody can see how tough the way it is for me.
Q. They say teamwork makes the dream work. Can you tell us a bit about the team around you here at Roland Garros, how they are helping you perform your best on the court and also how they are helping you off the court?
DOMINIC THIEM: It's everything very good at the moment. Great energy coming from outside when I'm playing the matches. The practices are going very well.
And of course also it's very important to keep a good mood. We are along together since few weeks now in Europe, and here in Paris since two-and-a-half weeks now. But all of them are super amazing people.
I mean, I have a lot of fun also with them, which is very important, to keep a good mood in all these weeks. When there is time to work, we are working very hard and very intense. So it's perfect right now.
Q. The top four all made the semifinals here, which is very different from the women's draw. I'm curious what you think it says about men's tennis right now that the top four were all able to get to the semifinals and none of them got pushed to five sets along the way. Everybody had a relatively not-too-difficult path there.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, just read before that it's the first event since Australia 2012, I think. So if something like that happens, it's also a little bit of luck. I mean, I think all of -- or me, I also had some tough moments in the first two rounds where it could also go the other way.
But, well, it says nothing, I would say. It's just luck. It happens, I don't know, once in five years that the top four seeds of a tournament are ending up in the semifinals together.
But for me it's amazing. As I said, I'm in the company with maybe the three best players of all time.
Q. You have been talking about the three best players. Could you take a minute and just talk about the different challenges that each of them bring and how their games compare, so to speak? Not just on clay but overall, if you would.
DOMINIC THIEM: The surface doesn't matter against them. All of them have won all four slams, so surface doesn't really matter.
They are so tough on any of the surfaces. I think it never happen in any era of men's tennis that you have three players with 15-plus Grand Slams. I mean, they are the only three with 15-plus Grand Slams. That shows it all.
I'm now in the fourth time here in the semis, and I know now how tough it is to get here, to get that deep in a tournament. And, I mean, these three, they are doing it since, I don't know, 10, 15 years almost at any Grand Slam. So that shows what their level is. So they are absolutely amazing.
But on the other hand, I know all three of them. I have played many, many times against all of them. I feel really good in their company. But I'm trying everything to beat them.
Q. You have beaten Nadal four times on clay, which is very rare. Even Roger Federer hasn't managed to do that. Just going to ask you, is there something about his game which you may be able to see something that maybe other people can't? Is there something about Djokovic which, for you, is perhaps more difficult than playing against Nadal?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, both of them are very different players. I have a little bit more issues with guys who play a little bit flatter and who take the balls very early like Novak is doing.
But, yeah, we also don't need to talk about how tough it is to play Rafa on clay. And the four times I beat him were four amazing days by me.
I'm not really thinking about Rafa, because if I would face him, I would have an unbelievable day tomorrow.
Q. About these three incredible players, of course technically you know them all. What do you think mentally is what they have more than the others? Okay, the techniques we can all see it. Mentally, there is one of them in your opinion that is stronger or that creates more troubles to you and to the others? You can find some little, you know, ways to go?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, I think that all three of them have something special around them because of all the success they had. I think that especially in the early rounds, they have a huge advantage only because of their name. Because I think many players don't really believe, if they step on court, that they can beat them, which is well-deserved because of all the success and which is also understandable, in a way.
I mean, mentally is one thing, but the other thing is that they just play amazing tennis, because it's a combination of all this. If you don't have this, you won't win that many titles what they did.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports