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January 2, 2020

Thomas Muster

Jurgen Melzer

Oliver Marach

Sebastian Ofner

Dennis Novak

Dominic Thiem

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Team Austria, for your time and the press conference today. I will be handing it over to Thomas Muster, team captain, who will introduce the team down the line.

THOMAS MUSTER: Dennis Novak to the right, Sebastian Ofner, Dominic Thiem, Jurgen Melzer, and Oliver Marach on the far left.

THE MODERATOR: We will be using the Catch Box microphone today for questions. I will be taking first questions please.

Q. Thomas, one of the fun things about this event is on-court coaching, and I know you like to have some fun with the guys off the court and all of that. What do you think your strategy is going to be, whether it's Domi or whoever it is, trying to help them relax, give them tactical advice?
THOMAS MUSTER: I think it's just about a good atmosphere. I think it's a great opportunity to have everybody in the team together, you know, at the beginning of the season, coming out of basically a short break at the end of the year.

Everybody had a bit of a holiday but then straight got back into practice sessions and about physical training and so on. It's great to see the guys come together and see what they have improved over the winter period and get started up for the new season.

I think it's a great event as a team, and it's a lot of fun. You know, we're doing a lot of funny things, even being a Bondi Beach this morning was really cool.

No, it's not so much about what you tell the guys. They all know how to play tennis. But it's the atmosphere and to be positive about going into the new season, having some great matches ahead of us. They are all ready pretty much going out to play after these long practice weeks. It's pretty much all about now, you know, get on the court and play matches.

Q. Dominic, obviously you have had a lot of practice time this week. Have you taken anything in particular from Thomas or any of the guys really that sticks in your mind?
DOMINIC THIEM: A lot of things already. We had some very good practices, and it's working out really well so far. But as well it's already I think six or seven weeks since the last match, a lot of practices. So everybody is really excited that a new season is starting soon and that we can play matches again.

Q. Another innovation is the guys on the side of the court will have tablets where they can look at different stats and all of that during the match and potentially give you feedback. How interested are you in that? Is that something you want to get a lot of during the match? What do you think about it?
DOMINIC THIEM: It's interesting, I mean, for sure, for the guys sitting out there. Me, when I'm on the court, or I think everybody who is playing, doesn't want to know any stats because we are 100% focused on the match. And if somebody tells you, I don't know, you should serve less double faults or you made too many forehand mistakes, I don't think that it's the right thing to do.

So it's fun and it's nice for the guys outside, but for the guy who is playing on court, I think he should focus on the match.

Q. Jurgen or Oliver, obviously doubles could be a very key match at the ATP Cup. It could be decisive. How important do you think that is for the game of doubles to sort of give it a platform to shine in that situation?
JURGEN MELZER: I think it's very important to have that opportunity for the doubles guys to play a decisive match and be in the spotlight and having that platform. It's not on an every-week basis that we have that, so we are looking forward, and hopefully there will be a lot of close matches and some doubles that are decisive.

OLIVER MARACH: Yeah, I'm the same side as Jurgen here. It's very important point in the team, especially if it comes up to a 1-All in the singles.

So we practice good already. I had a very long preseason to get my body fit, so I'm feeling good now, in shape, and very excited, looking forward to our matches.

Q. Dominic, the tennis world always seems to be searching for the next guy to challenge the Big 3, and it seems to have centered on you after your year last year. Are you sort of comfortable for that role? Are you willing to be the guy who can consistently take it to those guys?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I think we challenged them already a lot. We also beat them especially on Masters 1000 stages and the ATP Finals. I think the last stage we have to conquer is the Grand Slam stage, and I really think we see a new Grand Slam champion in 2020.

I really hope that it's me, but you cannot guarantee anything. There are also many other very strong guys who can achieve that. Maybe it's also not happening and Big 3 are taking all four, but we are trying everything to, I mean, to achieve top position, to achieve the biggest titles, Grand Slam titles. And, well, I practiced hard in the off-season and I'll try everything to do my best also next year.

Q. What were the biggest focuses for you in the off-season? What part of your game did you want to improve the most to go to that next level?
DOMINIC THIEM: I was really happy how my game developed, especially in the last part of the season in 2019. So I just tried to improve that, to practice and keep improving the things which were going well and then add some new things to my game. That's what I was focusing on in the practice.

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