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January 31, 2020

Dominic Thiem

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

D. THIEM/A. Zverev

3-6, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was the key of this match? What did you do better? Were you more brave especially in the tiebreakers than him?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think there was not one key moment. There were I think two or three key moments. I mean, it happens when two players are playing in a good form in a Grand Slam semifinals. It's very, very small details decide. That what happened today.

I mean, first key moment for me was 5-4 in the second set when I served for the set when he was playing the shot of the tournament from back of the wall, this smash passing shot. Saved I think two breakpoints, then served it out.

Second big key moment was, as well, at 4-5 in the third set when I saved two set points. I was up a break, had a really good chance for a double break. I was putting a lot of energy into that game. I'm leading with a double break.

He saves himself from this situation, breaks me back, almost wins that third set. Yeah, if it's 1-All in sets, the third one is always really deciding. These were the two big key moments.

Fourth set he was serving amazing. I had no look at all to make a break. Was obvious that the tiebreak has to decide. There luckily he gave me one, two easier points, and I finished it off.

Q. Were you more brave?
DOMINIC THIEM: I wouldn't say so. I mean, maybe in one or two shots in the tiebreak in the fourth I was going for it. Could have also missed them. I was brave but also lucky that I made these shots.

Q. How are you feeling physically? Do you think it's a disadvantage to have one less day off than Novak?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, there's disadvantages but also advantages. I think it's also a little bit of a challenge to have all the time one day off and all of a sudden two. Of course, I have less time to regenerate.

But with all the adrenaline and everything, it's going to be fine. I played two super intense matches against Rafa and now against Sascha. So of course I'm going to feel it, especially tomorrow. But going to have great treatment, easy hit tomorrow, and then of course try everything to be 100% on Sunday night.

Q. The first breakthroughs that you had were on clay courts at Roland Garros. You were not as successful on hard courts. How and why did you change your game in order to be a much better hard court player, reaching a final at a hard court slam?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, first of all, Indian Wells, that victory gave me so much relief and so much confidence because finally got my first Masters 1000 title on hard court. I mean, there in Indian Wells in the desert, it's pretty similar to clay. It's perfect for my game, balls bouncing so high.

Then I think last fall in Asia, then in the indoor season, I made this huge step forward. I really developed my game I think in the right direction. I got more aggressive on hard courts, started to serve smarter and to return better.

That also gave me a lot of confidence for this new year and for Australia because I told myself if I can be in the finals in London, the ATP Finals, why not as well in a hard court slam?

Since then I know that I'm also playing very well on the faster surfaces.

Q. Can you tell us about the challenges of backing up a performance after playing someone like Rafa? Most players lose after the next match after beating him.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I think that's most intense match against Rafa. He doesn't give you any free points. You have to win every single match in that matches. That was very demanding physically and mentally.

I also had big issues with that two, three years ago when I was beating a big guy. Almost all the time I lost my next match. But with experience and with more times when you are facing that situation, it got better.

Also today in the beginning, I had some troubles. Like, I was not in the zone straightaway in the match like against Rafa. It took a while, maybe 20, 30 minutes. But I think that's normal.

Yeah, you just have to fight through and stay full in the match.

Q. What would you say are the two keys you need to beat Novak?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think I have to keep a good balance. Of course, I have to risk a lot. I have to go for many shots. At the same time, of course, not too much. That's a very thin line. In the last match against him, hit that line perfectly in London.

Of course, going to take a look at that match, how I played, and try to repeat it. But for sure he's the favorite. I mean, he won seven titles here, never lost a final, going for his eighth one.

I mean, I'm feeling good on the court. I'm playing great tennis. So try to be at my absolutely best on Sunday.

Q. You joked in the interview on the court about always facing the king of the Grand Slams: Nadal in the final in Paris and now Novak here. Not so much tactically, but maybe tactically or mentally, what you think maybe you can take away from having faced the challenge of Nadal at Roland Garros that you can apply here?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, we are playing in tough times, we young players. We always have to beat all these unbelievable legends. But I think it's a complete different situation.

Of course, Rafa won Paris 12 times, Nole here seven times. That's unbelievable achievement. But I try to take my experience what I made in the last two major finals and try to improve myself even more. I think I did that from '18 to '19 in Paris, and I tried to improve even more now.

In this one I have the feeling that I have great experience now. I'm feeling that I can really keep up my level for all the two weeks, which was not the case maybe in my first Roland Garros final. So that's what I'm taking.

I mean, try to be in the zone straightaway on Sunday night.

Q. The fact you've beaten already Novak once in a slam, you won four of your last five encounters with him, do you think you can creep in his mind or enter his mind a little bit?
DOMINIC THIEM: I mean, yeah, it's true, I won I think more of the last encounters than he did. But I think it doesn't count so much. It's absolutely his comfort zone here. He always plays his best tennis in Australia since many, many years. So I'm expecting that as well in the finals.

All I can do is doing my best again, playing great tennis again, and of course take a look at the last matches we had as well in Paris and also London, try to repeat the good stuff what I did there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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