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December 31, 2018

Dominic Thiem

Doha, Qatar

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we will open up for questions in English.

Q. Can you say what your expectations are for the new season? How do you look at it? How are you coming off the pre season?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yes, it's tough to say. I had a good pre season for sure, but obviously all the other players still are working hard for sure. So, I'm really happy to be back on tour actually, but the first tournament is always tricky. I played in Abu Dhabi last week but still the first official tournament is a bit different. I'm looking forward to my first match. But I guess that many things can happen. And in general, my last three seasons were amazing and if I can keep up to that, I would be very happy.

Q. This is your second time here in Doha. Do you think you will be luckier, more lucky than last year because you had to withdraw, you were a little bit sick, so do you see yourself playing the semi-final or the final? And if you can talk a bit about the draw.
DOMINIC THIEM: I was very sad last year because I played very good. Actually, I was feeling fit and then all of a sudden, I got ill, I had no chance to play. I would love to have played the semi-finals because I like this tournament and I felt I was playing very good and I could go even further last year. And so, it was a bit of a shock. And that's why I'm also very happy to be back, that I can maybe make all the way this year. But it's tough, it is very strong this year. I think stronger than last year. Novak is playing, Karen, Stan. And there are some very dangerous players unseeded like, Berdych, the guys who are coming back, so it is going to be a tough week.

Q. You played your first Grand Slam final last year, you have been in the top five for a while. How close do you feel you are to taking the next step and grabbing your first Slam?
DOMINIC THIEM: This would be the next step and the last step to my ultimate childhood goal. I mean, this is why I started to play tennis, to win a Grand Slam, one day maybe, and I was very close last year. And it was tough to lose the match but at the same time also a big motivation to continue working to give myself hopefully one day another chance to play another Grand Slam final. And then put it in my own way, that's my goal and that's why I'm practicing every day, basically.

Q. Given how the season ended last year with the NextGen, the younger players coming up and doing really well. And also given the French Open, you making the final, do you think for the NextGen this is probably the year when the change happens and one of you guys goes on to win it? Do you think it's closer than ever?
DOMINIC THIEM: We said this for a couple of years now that this is the year it is going to change. So, I'm not sure if one of the younger guys win a Slam because obviously Novak, Rafa, Roger, they are still in a good shape. Andy's coming back, Stan is also coming back. All the guys who won Slams in previous years are on tour, so it will be very tough. Yes, there are four chances for us. Of course, the best young players and we are very pumped to take one Grand Slam and maybe it is going to happen this year, but maybe we are going to sit next year again and talk about this year it is going to be, so nobody knows.

Q. Are you surprised to see a guy like Roger Federer do so well at the age of 37? Tennis is really fast the last few years. But he's won two Grand Slams in 2017 and 2018. Are you surprised he is doing so well? Or is that a challenge for the younger players?
DOMINIC THIEM: I'm not surprised because he is just an exception like the same, like Rafa and Novak, they are maybe the three best players of all time so it's no surprise that they are dead good also in advanced age. That is why I'm expecting them also to play for the biggest titles in 2019. And it's amazing to have these guys still around, not only in tennis, but I would say in all sports in general, they are amazing, they are superstars and I think, like, players like me, a bit younger, we can be happy to be able to still compete with them. But on the other hand, of course, we are trying to take the biggest titles away from them like I was pretty close last year in the French Open.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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