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March 17, 2019

Dominic Thiem

Indian Wells, California

D. THIEM/R. Federer

3-6, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. Huge win. You mentioned the statement "anything is possible" the other day. What do you think about that now?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, it was a true saying from me, I would say. No, it feels just unreal what happened in this ten days during the tournament. I came from a really bad form in all categories, and now I'm the champion of Indian Wells. It feels not real at all.

It was a great week, and I think also a very good final today. Just amazing that I got here, my first really big title.

Q. I heard you say that you're only 88 titles behind Roger. That's funny, but it's true. Does it give you an appreciation, even more appreciation for what he has done, but you have the time to maybe catch up?
DOMINIC THIEM: I don't think I will catch up (smiling).

But, no, I mean, that's what I said on court. He's such a legend. And for all of us younger players, it's really a privilege to still be able to compete with him and to play against him in the finals of big tournaments like this one.

First of all, it's great to play against him. I think with every match against somebody like him, I can learn a lot of stuff. I mean, the way he was playing in the first set was unreal. I had to get used to it.

That's why it's so nice. That's why I hope and we all hope that he continues for quite a while still.

Q. Your tactic or strategy against Roger worked out very well today it looked like. Could you talk about how Massu help you out to prepare for this kind of a matchup?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, we talked about the matchup before, and obviously Roger is a complete player, so it's tough to find some things, but I did find some little ways. And if we both play really well, what I think we did today, then at the end it's gonna be a really close match.

Then it's also a little bit about luck, about momentum. And I think that the tactic, it's not really the most important, then, anymore.

Q. What kind of a coach is he?
DOMINIC THIEM: It's amazing to have him in the box, because he's so motivated. He puts the motivation on myself on the court. That's great.

Beside the matches, we had a great intensity in the practices before Indian Wells. Because in, yeah, like, 12, 13 days, he got me from physically not in good shape, tennis-wise not in good shape, he got me, well, to an Indian Wells champion. That's an amazing achievement also by him.

Q. When you get a service break at a key point like you did today in the second set, what does that do for your game? Is it a confidence boost? I mean, are you maybe more inclined to go for shots? I mean, what kind of effect does that have?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, well, it's always an up and down in every tennis match, because I got the break at 2-1, and at 1-All I had to save myself three break points, I think.

After that, I could hold my serve. Roger was not able to break me. I think he was maybe a little bit down. I was on the upper side, and I used that momentum well to break him to 3-1.

And of course it's such a different story when the score is 4-1 in the second than if it would be 2-3 with a break.

Q. Can you talk us through those two crucial dropshots? You came from a long way back to make them.
DOMINIC THIEM: In the 5-Aall?

Q. Yeah.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I'm lucky, because I'm pretty fast. That's a present from my parents, I guess (smiling). You cannot really practice that.

Still, I mean, he covers the net well, so it was good for myself that I could pass him twice.

Q. So you have been a good mover, as you mentioned, and shot maker for a long time. Do you think your practice needs to be more mental repetitions right now or physical?
DOMINIC THIEM: Both. I think I'm really fast, but from time to time I have problems to move accurate, I would say. If you see all the top guys, it really looks elegant when they move. When I see myself, doesn't really, to myself. So I have to practice that a lot to be more accurate on my shots.

Mentally, it was a really good week, because I stayed focused in all the matches. I was not crying around. I was staying positive most of the time, and that's what I have to keep up now.

It's a little bit similar like US Open last year. I played a great tournament, stayed focused all the time. Here, similar now. I try to keep that momentum longer than I did last year.

Q. Playing against a player like Roger who doesn't show any emotion during the match, you celebrated your good shot. How did you mentally face him feeling he doesn't show any emotion?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I knew that. I saw enough matches from him that he's really calm throughout the match.

But it's tough against Roger, Rafa, Novak, and some other guys, because you have to beat not only the player but somehow also the great aura they all have, all these titles they have won. So you have to play somehow double good to beat them.

Q. After three big finals on clay, you finally won your first big title on hard court. Now there is Miami, which is, I don't know if you heard of your colleagues, they are down there already, it's quite slow, not a really fast hard court. And then your favorite part of the season, according to your past results, has just to begin. Did you think about that? That this could be some kind of big breakthrough season if this is the start?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah. I mean, I always said that I love the conditions here. It's pretty similar to clay. It's a pretty slow hard court with a good bounce, especially during the day.

But still, it's amazing that I did my first big title here on a different surface than clay.

What makes me happy that I turned pretty bad start to the season to a very good one. I'm back in the top 8 in the race. I'm 4 in the rankings, which is my best ranking. So I turned it from really bad into really good.

Well, I said before, I try to keep that momentum and try to keep that up, because the title is, of course, amazing. It will stay there forever.

But it would be nice if I could hold this shape, all these positive emotions also in the next tournament and then in every tournament I play.

Q. You had been a young very successful upcoming player, 20, 21, everybody was talking about you being future No. 1. Did you feel it took a while for you to get this first Masters title?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, I'm still pretty young. I feel still young. But compared to the guys now, like Sascha or Stefanos or the other guys coming up, they are already Grand Slam semifinalist, Masters champions with age of 20, 21, and I was only -- I was only close to the top 100 back then.

So of course I had some good results and then the people were saying some things, but, like, I never had this big pressure like this on other players, like Grigor or some players like that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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