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March 16, 2019

Dominic Thiem

Indian Wells, California

D. THIEM/M. Raonic

7-6, 6-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what it's like to have this opportunity to go up against Roger on such a big stage?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, it's always something special to play him and also something special to compete in a Masters 1000 finals. It's only my third one. I have pretty bad stats in the finals.

So I know it's going to be very tough, but same time, I will give everything to hopefully win my first title.

Q. What about today's match? You have never taken a set off Milos before. Watching you, you were very animated and really into it today.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I knew it's gonna be tough. His serve is unreal. I knew that there going to be probably a tiebreak.

I played really well the whole match, basically. I didn't make a lot of unforced errors. I always made him play at least in my service games. And I had a very good first-serve percentage. That was great.

Second set break, I was a little bit unlucky, but it's always 50/50. I got the deciding break in the third set, and then I struggled a little bit to serve it out.

But, in general, it was a very good match because the only break point I had to save was in the last game, and that was what I wanted to do, to play my service games well and not let him too many chances.

Q. You have spoken in the past about not really loving hard courts. Great result now. What adjustments have you been working on for this surface, if any?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I was preparing 12 days here before the tournament. That helped, of course, a lot.

This surface and also the one in New York, for example, it suits me pretty well, because it's bouncy, especially during the day. It's not too fast, so it's a little bit more similar than a clay court.

The biggest adjustment is the moving, that I cannot slide around.

Q. Australia was not good for you. You were sick, I think. And the results even since then have not been great. What do you think has turned it around?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I had a tough and long season last year. I think that everybody who plays that long struggles a little bit. If you see Marin Cilic, for example, he doesn't have the best results this year because he played even longer than me with the Davis Cup.

At one point, if you don't give your body enough rest, it's going to take it by itself. That's what happen in Australia. I got sick. I mean, even at the preparation I did. And then maybe I started too early. I wanted too much too early again, and then my body had a breakdown.

When I went to South America, I was healthy again, but just didn't practice enough before. Buenos Aries was decent. Rio I lost against Djere who won the tournament after. I was healthy again. I was not playing well, of course, but I had just a lack of practice.

After I lost in Rio, I practiced a little bit on hard court, and then I came here. And I had two really good weeks to practice here, and it was kind of a second preparation for me, fitness training, tennis training. And I started to play well, I started to be really fit again, what I need for my game.

Of course it's still lucky and amazing that it pays off immediately.

Q. Playing Roger tomorrow, he's going to have an extra 24 hours' rest because of the withdrawal today. Is that a disadvantage at all, or how do you approach that?
DOMINIC THIEM: It's fine. I mean, it would be a disadvantage if it would be a slam and best of five. But we are all fit enough, I think, physically to make it these best-of-three matches.

Still, I think it's -- now I will still have 24 hours, as well, and I should be top prepared for the match.

Q. You have had several tough matches, mainly on Stadium 2 coming here. How has that adjustment been to Stadium 1? And besides patience, what else makes you mentally tough?
DOMINIC THIEM: It was good that I was hitting after Gaƫl retired on the Stadium 1. That helped me, for sure. Because it's huge. It's a different view. And of course I remember it from the previous years.

I stayed mentally strong, but I prepared for a tough match. If Milos isn't the same, it means that he plays well, that he serves well. I went into the match with the knowledge that there is going to be probably one tiebreak for sure. That only few points will decide the match.

Q. When Rafa first came up, he was known primarily as a clay-courter and of course transformed that game into all surfaces. Is one of your goals to be known as a multi-surface player?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, it's not my call to be known as a multi-surface player, but it's nice for me and also for my confidence to have really good results also on the other surfaces.

But it worked out pretty well. I have my grass court title. I have already two titles, one indoor and one outdoor on hard court. I like that surface. I like to play on it. Now I'm in the finals here.

But one thing would never change that clay is my home. It's my favorite surface. I grew up on it. I just feel great whenever I come back at it. But that doesn't mean that I'm not a good all-arounder, or not a good player on different surfaces.

Q. When you arrived, did you have any sense that this was going to be a good event for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, no, not at all (smiling). I arrived not in a good shape, neither physically nor tennis-wise, nothing. I didn't know what's gonna happen in this tournament.

But I'm proud of myself because I gave myself the chance. I just said to myself, I'm going to start my season here. I'm going to do a great preparation here. And of course it's luck and it's amazing that it pays off immediately.

But also, if it wouldn't have paid off straightaway with the final here, then I still would be well-prepared for Miami, I think. And this was the main goal.

But it's amazing that I came this far, and hopefully it's not the end.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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