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January 13, 2016

Bernard Tomic

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

B. TOMIC/J. Thompson

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Might have been unfamiliar, but seemed to get into the rhythm quite well.
BERNARD TOMIC: Was very, very solid tonight. I felt very good from the first few games was on top of the ball. So I think I'm very confident from last week as well.

I knew it was going to be very difficult tonight from the start, because we never hit a ball with each other, never practiced, never played points. So it's not never easy, but I felt I played pretty solid today.

Q. You recovered pretty well. Pretty tough matches. Two tiebreakers. How did you pull up?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, yeah, I did. Second round in Brisbane was big. It was two hours 45, and I think against Kei it was also a very tough match. And Raonic. It was a lot of tennis I played, so I was a little bit doubtful I would be ready for here. I got the Wednesday start, which was very good.

Felt good the last few days. Did a few less things, but did the right things and was on court today feeling good. I'm very positive.

Q. You made four straight quarterfinals here in Sydney. Talk a little bit about some of the things that help you play such consistently good tennis here.
BERNARD TOMIC: I think always looking back it was my first title here, so the memory is always there. With the memories comes the confidence. And playing on the court, I feel so good playing on that court.

Every time I step on that court I know this is where it all started for me. This is an amazing feeling to be on the court. Makes me play the best -- it brings out the best tennis in me, and I enjoy it every time I step out on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Q. Look like you're getting to more balls than in the past. Is that a physical or a mental thing?
BERNARD TOMIC: More physical. I think I'm learning to move better on the court. I think it's not just -- when you look at the great players now, they're on top of every ball. Even in defense and even in attack, their court position is always on every ball.

I'm trying to focus on my movement in the defensive, when I get there, to be in balanced and to be more strong. I'm feeling very good. It's coming all well, but there is a lot to go and I know I can improve a lot more.

Q. Gabashvili next. You haven't played him. Again an unknown.
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, well, for me it's better to play people I haven't played against and they have never practices with me. The problem is me and Gabashvili have practiced so many times together. The match can be different.

I prefer playing someone that's new because they don't know what I'm going to do and how I'm going to play. It's an advantage, but can be also difficult for me.

Gabashvili is very, very talented. He comes out with every match nothing to lose and plays aggressive. He's beaten top players in the past I've watched, so I have to be ready.

Q. A lot of female players have got injuries and are in doubt for the Australian Open. A lot of the males are also taking the week off. Is this an ideal of preparation for you?
BERNARD TOMIC: Absolutely. I think I'm young. Still 23. I have to play as much tennis as I can. Every tournament for me I look at now trying to win. Here is a chance also to maybe win.

But, you know, maybe it's not the smartest idea playing before the Grand Slam, especially with my seed now. I think if I won this tournament I would only go up a spot, so not really difficult. You have to play the bigger tournaments now.

You have to perform well in the Grand Slams, the Masters, to move up close to the top 10. Just shows, I think. But at the end of the day, you play for titles. I play for titles. The more I win the better. I love Sydney so much, so I love to be here.

Q. (Regarding the No. 16 seeding at the Australian Open.)
BERNARD TOMIC: I think it excited me very well. It gives me an opportunity now playing I think 17 to 24 seeds in the third round. There are dangerous floaters out there as well first and second round that you can get, so can be difficult as well.

Hopefully I get the right draw to save energy to play well in the first few rounds and confidence getting to the third, fourth round. What I've noticed the past year or so, you need to get to those third, fourth rounds and be ready and physically fresh. You have to beat the top players. You have to be physically ready.

If you play top matches first, second round, not a good thing.

Q. You feel like you're controlling the point a lot better now?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, absolutely. I think with the better fitness and movement I become more confident on court. That's what I always needed. I needed -- I also say another thing. I had the surgeries in 2000 and, what was it, 2014? This was not a surgery to -- that I needed. This is something that I chose. It was going to benefit me in the long run.

It was whether I did it at the period of 21 or doing it at 26, 27 where I had problems in in my hips. But I felt like I needed to at that time because I could recover quicker. Only took me three, four months to recover as opposed to if I did it at 28. Would've taken me six, seven months.

So I knew the whole 2014 time period when I came back was going to be a struggle. I somehow managed to win a tournament in Colombia on hard court, which was my fourth, fifth tournament back, which was truly for me remarkable.

But then the last year I think playing on tour strengthened my hips a lot and my lower back, in that area. It's not easy having two hip surgeries in that spot. I was happy to play that amount of tennis last year that strengthened my hips, lower back, and it's showing now how it paid off.

Q. Where are you now in terms of potential after the surgery? What stage are you now?
BERNARD TOMIC: Well, I think I feel so good. I think the first six months coming back from the surgery, that was sort of the last four or five months of tour 2014, it was tough. Like I said, I won the tournament but still didn't feel that good. I felt my hips. I was scared to perform, to play many tournaments.

Somehow I managed 2014 to be 60 in the world. 2015 came and I was -- each match I played, each tournament I played longer, I became more physically stronger and more confident I think due to the fact that I did those operations. It helped so muscle now.

Q. Are you surprised by the spate of withdrawals and illnesses happening this early in the season? Theoretically everyone should be coming in rested and fresh, and maybe how you're feeling?
BERNARD TOMIC: Absolutely. I think we've all seen it now this week. People are withdrawing. People, they want to feel the best at the Australian Open. That's what you play for, the big tournaments. You want try your best at every tournament, but if your body is not ready to play, obviously I would do the same.

I'm feeling pretty well. For my sake I feel like I can perform well here and do well at this tournament. Maybe it's not the smartest idea playing the week before, especially if you're seeded well. But if you're playing as confident as I am, why not, you know?

Q. Dimitrov was saying that the younger players now are really ready to beat the big players, Djokovic and Federer and Nadal and Murray. You guys are close but haven't been able to knock them down.
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, Novak, it's just a joke now. It's amazing what he's doing. That's the reason why he's the best player in the world.

I think even Roger and Rafa are just -- when you step on the court against Novak now it's like, How can you beat him? Even Rafa playing that final in Doha, it was amazing tennis to watch, but so comfortable, and on score just shows how much Novak is dominating the sport.

I think he is a different level, Novak, now, and there is a reason why he's there. I think the other players, there are a little bit more weaknesses and stuff. There is a reason why Novak is the best. No weaknesses. I can't think of any. He deserves to be there.

Q. I guess Milos beating Federer was a big win.
BERNARD TOMIC: It was. It was. I think they played so many times. I think Roger was 6-1 record or 5-1 against him. So I think that's also a good sign for us. Not just for Milos winning that tournament. It gives us confidence stepping on the court against Federer, Murray, and against these other guys.

Except Novak.

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