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January 6, 2020

Dominic Thiem

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

D. THIEM/D. Schwartzman

6-3, 7-6

Team Austria - 2

Team Argentina - 0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were saying the other night you didn't quite feel that your serve and your backhand were quite there. It seemed from the outset you were hitting everything pretty cleanly. Is that how it felt?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I'm really happy with the improvement from Saturday to today. Good practice session yesterday where I was working on the things which were not that great on Saturday, and today was really I think a match on a high level.

Still, here and there some mistakes, which maybe didn't happen towards the end of last year, but in general was a great match. I think also enjoyable for the crowd. Many great rallies.

I'm very happy. And the best thing of all is that Dennis gave me the 1-0 lead, so because of my win we won this tie, which is amazing. Yeah, couldn't be better. Yeah, could be better if they win now, as well.

Q. Seemed like you went after the forehand in particular. Was that a plan going into the match?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I was not really happy with my forehand, either. It was not fast enough on Saturday. Was not relaxed enough, I would say. So I really tried to be more relaxed, tried to be not that nervous and tight, which was really good today.

Forehand should be always the stroke which creates the most damage in my game. Today it was there again.

Q. You mentioned Dennis. How special is this to you that not only did you get a win tonight but to see how well he played in his first match and how well he played tonight?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, I think for him it's, or for all of us, it's a very special day because he cracked the top 100 with this win today, which for every player is a huge milestone.

Of course he has the game. He has the game for a way higher ranking even, but still you have to create them. He did it today, did it with incredible performance after 0-6 in the first set against a guy like Guido who is on tour after such a long time, who is incredibly tough to beat.

So it's a very nice day for all of us because he made this. He led the victory to the tie for us, and also he cracked the top 100, which is amazing.

Q. How much of an opportunity do you think this event is for him to get matches against established guys, to prove to himself almost that he could compete with them?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, he showed in the past that he has this level. I think his problem is a little bit that he drops his level again when he comes back to the challengers.

He has no problem to lift his game up against these big guys, as we saw against Cilic, as we saw against Pella, but yeah, unfortunately has also no problem to drop his game again in challengers.

And now I think he slowly gets to this ranking where he can play more ATP main draws. And then if he plays week in, week out at this level, he will get used to it. I think his life ranking now is 91, which is great, but he should aim much higher because that's where he belongs when he plays his best tennis.

Q. Something I think a lot of people notice is how emotional and invested Thomas has been throughout all the matches, been talking a lot to everybody. How special is it for you to be there with him as he's really showing how much he cares for you guys?
DOMINIC THIEM: He's showing an incredible energy. I think that he also has a big part in Dennis' victory tonight, because after the first set he really change his mind.

But in general, it's a big honor for us. I mean, he's one of the greatest athletes from Austria of all time. Have him on the bench, have all the tips from him, all the energy from him is really nice.

Q. It's been a while now that you've been with Nicolas Massu. What's been the biggest change or difference working with him compared to when you were with Gunter?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think that he gave me again more freedom in my game. Like when I was young, I won most of my matches because of intelligent game style, because of surprising changes in the game what I did. And I lost this a little bit, because, I mean, I was practicing the strokes, my strokes, forehand, backhand for most of the time, which is amazing now, my forehand and my backhand, but I lost a little bit the other part of my game.

We worked on that. This comes back, and I think I improved it a lot. I mean, it's the best thing if I can combine these two things, and that's what we are working on.

Q. You were talking about Thomas. Has there been anything in particular, whether it's in practice or during the matches, that sort of stuck with you?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, but I'm not going to tell you (smiling). He told me great things already, things which can really improve my game, but, well, I don't want to say it out in public.

But this is one thing. And the other thing is what you mentioned before, that he just brings a great positive energy to everybody here and it helps a lot.

Q. This year there has been, as you're saying, a lot of progress over the last year, 18 months or so. So this year have you got it in your mind to really make a major step forward? Is that the plan? Things are different, I guess, on court, off court for you. So does that also help free up just the focus for what you want to and need to do on the court? And what is that main target?
DOMINIC THIEM: Main target is to win a Grand Slam tournament, to win a major tournament. That's what I'm working for really hard, day in and day out.

I really hope that it's happening, but there is no guarantee for that, because there are a bunch of other players who work as hard as me, who are as talented as me, younger players, and then these absolute legends still around.

So there is, as I said, absolutely no guarantee to win a slam, but I really hope it's happening. It's my main goal. Yeah, basically I also won tournaments in every other category, so that's clearly the last goal I have, to really win one more major tournament, and I'm trying everything that it's happening as soon as possible.

Well, I think I'm on a good way, but as I said, there is no guarantee at all for that.

Q. Do you believe that this really could be the start of it this year, that you feel a lot freer to achieve those goals?
DOMINIC THIEM: I don't feel freer. I always felt free. I mean, I'm feeling good, happy. That's the main thing.

I'm also, I think, on a good way with my game, which is required to win big tournaments like that. That's what it's all about.

So there is going to be the first chance in Melbourne very soon, and I try everything to take it, but it's very difficult because probably there are right now 8 to 10 players who can really go for a Grand Slam title.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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