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January 23, 2020

Dominic Thiem

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

D. THIEM/A. Bolt

6-2, 5-7, 6-7, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tell us how you managed to come back?
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I think I had the match under control until 6-2, 5-4. I played one really bad game, then he won that set. He played much better, got pushed also from a great crowd.

Third set was I think no break from either side. He played a great tiebreaker. But, yeah, also in the back of my head he already had a five-setter in the first round, doubles yesterday. I knew that probably he cannot really hold that level, so I just tried to stay in the match. That's what I did. That's what also paid off at the end.

Q. You didn't need the fifth set tiebreak. What do you think of that change here? Does that at all creep into your mind entering the fifth set, you know there's an end point?
DOMINIC THIEM: Not really. I mean, I like it that way because I think if the match ends at 6-All in the fifth, the crowd and the players, everybody deserves a match tiebreak. It's a great thing. It's a really good tension in there. It's great to watch, as well.

It's also fairer to the players. I think they introduced it because of Anderson back in Wimbledon. If you play a few matches, 20-18 in the fifth or something, your chances to play a great tournament at the end, I mean, they go to zero almost.

Q. Do you ever worry when you have early five-set matches in Grand Slam tournaments that it will cost you at the end? I know you're very fit, you trust in your fitness. In the back of your head, do you think, I wish I just finished that off quicker today?
DOMINIC THIEM: Of course, it does. But not today because it was nice conditions, was not hot. The match I think was 3 hours 20. There's a big difference if you play 3 hours 20 in these conditions or if you play four-and-a-half when it's 40 degrees outside. Then it can really affect your later rounds.

But a match like today, not really. I mean, that's what we practice for in the off-season. Tomorrow is a day off to recover. Of course, it's better always to finish it off quicker. But like today, it shouldn't be any problem.

Q. How did the court play today? Some players say it's a bit heavy early in the tournament.
DOMINIC THIEM: I think the court is similar like last year. It's pretty medium pace. But the balls, they get fluffy after two, three games. I think that's more than last year. That's more the different conditions than the court because they are, I think, pretty similar.

Q. The conditions today you thought affected the ball more so...

Q. You're fairly calm on the outside. When you're in a difficult situation like today, how crazy are you on the inside?
DOMINIC THIEM: Depends. I mean, I got crazy today in the third set. I think body language was not the best because it was, of course, in my head that I should be 2-0 up, 6-2, 6-4, I should be up. I messed it up.

Instead of that, he raised really his level. The crowd got it going. It was all of a sudden a really tight third set that shouldn't happen.

That's why I was, yeah, freaking out inside and also outside today.

Q. What were your thoughts on Alex's game?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, he's not really any weaknesses. Good lefty serve. Comes in pretty well. So, well, there is not a single reason why he shouldn't get to the top hundred soon.

I think the most important is for all players like him just to keep up the great level they can play. They also prove they can play in a tournament like this. Also, yeah, all the other weeks in the year.

Q. When you are in a difficult match like that and you look and you see Thomas Muster in your camp, does it actually give you added incentive to keep fighting and never give up?
DOMINIC THIEM: I mean, that should come really from myself, that I never give up, that I fight till the end. Shouldn't come from anybody outside the box. Of course, it's a good feeling.

Q. With Thomas, how often do you remind him that you beat him when you played the first time?
DOMINIC THIEM: We keep that quiet, I would say (smiling).

Q. You mentioned you like the atmosphere on the fifth-set tiebreak. Do any come to mind that you saw, any matches that required that that you remember watching?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I saw last year Nishikori-Carreno, which was epic, of course, with one tough decision. Things like that, they only come with a tiebreak in the fifth set.

Like this dramatic, or this close, it will never get if you don't play a breaker at the end.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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