Thiem Saturday Press Conference
Saturday, November 16, 2019
D. THIEM/A. Zverev
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You're playing okay in covered courts after the years. And another thing, Massu is good? Because Thomas Muster also supports you. You could work together, or...
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, well, we will see about that. I'm not really focused right now on that fact, because I just won one of the biggest matches of my life, which makes me very happy and which I didn't really expect, especially with what you said, that I didn't feel that great indoors before, that I didn't have that great success at this tournament the three previous years.
And now I'm in the finals. It means so much to me, and I hope or I'm going to be fully focused for tomorrow.
Q. You play Stefanos next. Curious what you learned about him at Laver Cup. He's kind of not really well known among the top players, so I guess that must have been an ice breaker?
DOMINIC THIEM: I always had a pretty good relationship with him, but of course at the Laver Cup we all get to know each other very close, and this year the chemistry was great, was really nice. We had a lot of fun. They're all very nice and very funny guys, so we had a great time.
And also, at the other tournaments, we have a great time outside the court. But, yeah, once we take the step on the court, it's a battle and we forget for two, three hours our friendships.
Q. Tomorrow's final will be the first one at this event in 13 years that's a battle of the one-handed backhands. Could you just talk about the significance of that and just kind of what a one-handed-backhand match battle brings to the table that makes it interesting and fun to watch?
DOMINIC THIEM: That's a very nice fact, because, well, I think there was a time where there were not many players with a one-handed backhand. And now me and also way younger, amazing players like Stefanos or Denis Shapovalov play one-handed backhand, so we are going to see it for also the next 10, 15 years, which is great.
I think if you play it well like we do, it has a lot of advantages, and also or maybe especially indoors because of the slice, because of the many options you have.
Q. Just a moment ago, Alexander said in 2020 he thinks there will be a brand new Grand Slam champion. Do you believe next year will be the best year yet for someone like you to win a Grand Slam?
DOMINIC THIEM: I still think so, that we see a new Grand Slam champion next year. I mean, it's not 100% sure, of course, because the Big 3 are going to be still the favorites, but I think that in one or two events, younger players will make a breakthrough.
And me, I really hope that I can continue my great level of tennis in 2020, and now I have the feeling that my game is really moving in the right direction.
So after this tournament, I'm looking forward a lot -- I mean, first of all, of course, for a time off, but then I'm looking forward a lot to the offseason to improve even more this level of tennis and tennis which is really moving in the right direction. So I'm very motivated for that, and I really believe that I can have an even better 2020.
Q. You will end up the year as No. 4 in the world. Is it more important than to be No. 3 in the middle of a year for few weeks? Does it have special meeting? There are five years between you and Tsitsipas, like between Federer and Nadal. Suggestion.
DOMINIC THIEM: First, yeah, I mean, it's important now to finish the year as No. 4 because of the seedings in Australia, obviously. But I think ATP Cup is 750 points, so there can still be some changes.
But it's way nicer to go into a Grand Slam as a fourth seed than as a fifth seed, because everybody knows why (smiling).
With the age difference with Stefanos is funny. I just saw a picture before that I practiced with him the first time I played here 2016. He was a hitting partner here. It's amazing story for both of us, because probably both of us, we didn't think that only three years later we were going to face each other in the finals.
Q. You mentioned about Stefanos being a hitting partner. How long have you known him? What's your relationship like?
DOMINIC THIEM: That was the first time I met him, 2016 here, as a hitting partner. Of course I saw that he's playing great, but I didn't put so much attention on it because other things to focus on.
And then he came on tour, and we played our first match last year in Doha, like two years ago almost, and there I saw and I also felt his amazing potential.
Then at the end of the year already he was No. 14 or 15, and then everybody could see where his direction goes, like, only up, only in absolute world class.
Well, he really deserves it. He's a good person. He's a very good player with a very attractive style to watch, so it's good to have him.
Q. You were saying that your game is going in the right direction. On a technical point of view, how can you evaluate it? How can you...
DOMINIC THIEM: Technical or tactical?
DOMINIC THIEM: Tactical?
Q. Technical. The technique.
DOMINIC THIEM: Tactic or technique? (Laughter.) Sorry.
Yeah, well, I made some little changes through the year, like my forehand, I shortened up the swing a little bit which helps me, especially in the faster surfaces. And then I also made some little changes at serve and then return.
But other than that, I'm really happy with my technique (smiling).
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