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November 13, 2019

Dominic Thiem

London, England, United Kingdom

D. THIEM/N. Djokovic

6-7, 6-3, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What a match. That's all I have to say. What a match. How did you convert it? You were down so many times. It could have gone either way. What was the deciding factor for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, probably it was maybe the best match I ever played. It was a real classic and epic match which will happen from time to time at these big tournaments.

It had everything what a match like this needs. He was up; I was up. He was playing amazing points. Me, I was playing amazing points. And then I think the match deserved an end in the third-set tiebreak. Well, there it's, I think, if we are playing two hours 45, two top 10 players, it's only about luck, and it was a little bit more on my side today in the third-set tiebreak.

But I'm really happy and proud, because as I said before, it was probably the best match I ever played.

Q. Novak said he's never really played too many matches where someone is just hitting the ball as hard as you were so consistently throughout. Was it an extra special effort tonight or just a particular tactic you knew you had to really go for every single shot? Was that a purposeful thing or just going with the mood?
DOMINIC THIEM: I knew that I had to play like this to beat him. Against everybody who qualified for this tournament here, there is a special effort necessary to win.

I did it against Roger, and I did it also today. Probably Novak is the best player in the world right now, so I had to do something outstanding, something unusual, and that's what I did. I mean, I was hitting really, really hard.

Well, 51 winners against him is a great number (smiling).

Q. Continuing with the same theme, would you agree that it's a bold strategy to do so against Novak to hit with full strength from point one to the last one? Would you agree with that, that it was a bold strategy from you?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that would be too easy to say. I mean, I didn't hit everything full power, because otherwise it's way too risky.

But I really found a great balance today from being solid from playing also slice from time to time, from coming into the net. But then also to win points against him, to win important points against him, I had to come up with some special shots, with shots he didn't expect like backhand down the line or forehand down the line.

Most of these shots, while I was trying to surprise him, worked out today.

Q. I notice that when you return serve you have a very wide stance. I was wondering what sort of benefit does that extreme stance bring to your game, to your return game specifically?
DOMINIC THIEM: Which one? Sorry?

Q. Returning serve. You stand very far apart with your legs. What does that bring to your return game?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, it just brings a better balance. I improved it, I think. In general my footwork is wider. It got wider.

And if you see the best players, they are all super wide. That just brings you the best balance. Obviously it's the best if you start already at the return with it.

Q. Today you were impressive. How confident are you to maintain this level for the rest of the week?
DOMINIC THIEM: I'm really confident, of course. It was I think for the first time that I beat two of the Big 3 back to back, which gives me a lot of confidence.

Also, I'm super happy and proud that I reached the semifinals for the first time. It was a big goal, but of course it's not enough now. I'll try to play a good match against Matteo on Thursday. Of course it's a little bit more comfortable now that I don't have a lot of pressure in this match, but of course I want to continue the great shape and then full focus on the semifinals. And I try to keep up the great level I had in the first two matches also for the semifinals.

Q. Last year Sascha won the title for the first time, biggest title of his career. You have come so close to major wins. Obviously you had Indian Wells this year, but if you were to lift the title here, what would that mean to you?
DOMINIC THIEM: It would be the biggest title of my career. I think this tournament here is almost on level with the Grand Slams, because it's so tough to win it.

You have to beat only top 10 players. You have to beat the eight best players of the season. Maybe this tournament is the most difficult to win all year.

Q. You were so much better on hard courts than you used to be, especially this year, so much more consistent. What's the main factor or main couple of factors in that?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that there are two main factors. The first is that I really improve my aggressive game style. I'm coming in to the net way more, and that's just important on the hard courts.

And then also, I said yesterday already, there are also some big advantages for me on surfaces like this. I don't get the backhand in uncomfortably. I can hit it most of the time in a pretty good zone for me.

That's why I can go many times for a very risky shot, and the possibility that the ball goes in is pretty high because this surface makes it possible that I don't have to hit it too uncomfortable. These are the two main factors, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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