On Sunday Dominic Thiem stepped in front of the Erste Bank Open 500 press for the first time. Here are five of the most important questions and answers.
Are you relieved that your first opponent, Richard Gasquet, has dropped out?
No, just because I lost against him here last year doesn’t mean anything. Obviously, I was focused on a match against him but there is still enough time to get to know my next opponent, whoever that will be. But yes, him dropping out surprised me. I met him just before in the arena and he didn’t say anything (laughs).
There’s a new ball this year in Vienna (Dunlop). Your thoughts on that?
I think it’s good, because the ball is very fast. It opens up fast and has some good qualities then. Just before I played some rallies with Kohlschreiber and he’s saying the same. Once the ball had opened up we had some really good rallies.
How’s the court compared to the last tournaments?
It’s pretty similar to St. Petersburg. They had different balls there, but that worked out fine, too. Shanghai – you can’t really compare the courts at all.
Your expectations for Vienna?
They are high. But the preconditions are completely different to the years before. I really took a lot of confidence from the US Open. After that I played good tennis and not even Shanghai can change that.
The arena was pretty full already during qualification, how do you cope with this enthusiasm?
That wasn’t my fault (laughs). But to be serious, everything is fine. Of course there are more appointments here, but I’m used to that. The most important thing was to get my practice sessions and that I did.