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January 29, 2020

Dominic Thiem

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

D. THIEM/R. Nadal

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

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Zverev said something about after he won against Wawrinka about breaking the barrier. Do you agree with this idea? How do you feel you are ready to be the one to break that barrier?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, I don't feel really like that I broke a barrier. It was just an unbelievable match, like epic one, 4 hours 10. I think on a very high level from both of us. That's what I'm most happy about. Also, of course, that I'm for the first time in the semis of Australian Open. That's for me a barrier.

But, well, to really break a barrier, one young player has to win a slam. Yeah, one of us going to be in the finals. But it's still a very long way to go. I mean, other semifinals is still two of the big three. I think we are still a pretty long way from overtaking or from breaking this kind of barrier.

Q. We all know the strength you have from the back of the court. Lleyton Hewitt was complimentary of your defensive game tonight. Was that a mindset you needed to take in?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, if you want to have a chance against him, one of the all-time greats, everything needs to work in your game. Also, of course, the defensive game. In some key moments, like 6-All in the tiebreak in the fourth set, my defensive game really worked. There was a great passing shot. It needs to be there to beat players like him.

I think I improved my defensive game. Offensive game was always one of my strongest parts. Defensive game always so-so. It's super important for me, if I'm not in control of a point, to sometimes turn it around.

Q. There's always talk about your backhand. What about the role of your forehand? You hit twice as many winners from that.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I always like my forehand more than my backhand. It's always going to be my shot which I'm feeling I can do everything with that one. Of course, backhand looks way nicer, especially the down-the-line one. But I prefer to play my forehand.

I think most of the times it's going to be like I'm hitting more winners from that side. Was today same, yeah.

Q. Rafa received a time violation, really pushed the boundaries with the length when he serves. Did that bother you at all tonight?
DOMINIC THIEM: No. But, I mean, that was little bit -- I mean, it's tough because it was after a 20-shot rally where we both covered so much ground, where we both running left, right, left, right.

To receive a time violation after such a point, you can discuss about it. I mean, of course, it's rules. But still, I mean, it's so demanding and so tough to play points like that.

Yeah, I mean, I think every umpire handles it different. I mean, yeah, it was after the rules, but it's also fine if you don't give one after such a point.

Q. What are you most proud of about your performance today? What will be the most important thing if you're going to go all the way?
DOMINIC THIEM: I'm really proud of how I stayed in the match after a very tough situation when I served for it, 5-4 in the fourth set. I really threw away that game with pretty stupid mistakes.

He played a well game to 6-5. I really stayed in the match, got it together everything again in the breaker. That's what I'm proud of, that I overcame this small or short, weak part of my game.

Of course, very proud of the win in general. It's amazing to beat the current world No. 1, Rafa, such a legend. Of course, first-time semis here, it's a very special victory for me.

Q. Thoughts on the matchup with Sascha?
DOMINIC THIEM: We know each other. For me, it's funny because it's first time in a Grand Slam semifinals I face a younger guy. We're good friends. I'm happy for him, as well, that he's playing so good here. He made his breakthrough at a Grand Slam.

We have no secrets from each other. I mean, we played so many times, also on very special occasions already, at the ATP Finals, semis, French Open quarters. It's a nice rivalry we have. It's great that we add an Australian Open semifinals to this one.

Going to be a close match again. Same if two top-10 players play each other semis of a slam. The deciding moments are very small, small margins. I'm looking forward to it. I try to regenerate as good as possible and then try to be ready 100% for Friday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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