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January 18, 2020

Dominic Thiem

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling about your preparations for this tournament after the matches in the ATP Cup?
DOMINIC THIEM: Good. I think maybe first match ATP Cup was not as great, but was still the first match of the year where I always have some troubles. But second and third match was really decent. I played some good tennis.

Well, after we finished the match against Poland, I think it's almost two weeks until today, until the tournament starts on Tuesday. Got in some really good practices with the best players in the world, so preparation is going well.

Feeling good about the start.

Q. You got to Melbourne pretty early. What has your experience been like with the air here?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, it was pretty bad for two days. But, I mean, we played already in Beijing where it was way worst than here in Melbourne. Didn't have any issues at night. In some other places there were some issues at night, some coughing. Here that was not the case.

Of course, we are happy that the air is cleaner now again. But was never super bad, I would say. I mean, the main thing is that the bushfires are going to be done soon. That's the main concern for everybody. That's the main thing that hopefully rains a lot there where the bushfires are, that they're gone soon.

Q. If the air quality was worse than Beijing, do you think the tour should look more in general at air quality across all the destinations? Must have been quite bad.
DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I think - or I'm sure actually - that we can trust the tour, we can trust the doctors who are responsible for sending us out. I don't think that anybody or any tournament would send us out on the court if there would be really concerns about our health, some long-term effects. I think that's never the case.

Well, if that's not the case, I think nobody really needs to worry. We also talked about it yesterday in the meeting, that they made sure of it once again. If the air quality has bad effects on our health, they won't let us out, they won't let us play.

As long we can step on court, as long they let us step on court, it seems like everything is fine.

Q. You trust the organizers. I'm curious, why?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, of course I trust them. I think they're careful with us. Also, I mean, they cannot afford any bad things happening, I guess, cannot afford any long-term things happening to us players.

That's why I said I think they only send us out when there are no worries about anything.

Q. Looking back at the ATP Cup, sort of comparing it to how you started the season in previous years, did you feel it was more intense?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, it's always something little bit different, to play for your country, than a normal tournament where you play only for yourself.

The other difference was that we had a very tough group. I was facing three top opponents. Maybe if you play another tournament for the start of the year, you have a little bit of an easier first match or something. But in Sydney, I only faced absolute top players.

I always have some issues with my game, with the match rhythm, after few weeks without competing. So, therefore, I was not surprised how the things went there.

Q. Tell us about your adoption of Bamos the penguin.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, it was a present. I got it in Sydney, which was really nice. I was very happy about it.

Q. Who gave it to you?
DOMINIC THIEM: I don't know actually. I mean, the tournament there gave it to me. Who organized it, I don't know.

Q. Are you hoping to meet Bamos someday?
DOMINIC THIEM: I hope so, yeah.

Q. Am I right in thinking that you are going to play the three-week run of tournaments in Gstaad and Kitzbuhel and Stuttgart -- sorry, Hamburg, is that correct?

Q. I know Kitzbuhel is a tournament dear to your heart. They're all good events. Sandwiched in between Wimbledon and the US Open, why have you made that decision?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I decided when I went last year to play Kitzbuhel instead of the Olympics. Then there is this year one-week break between Kitzbuhel and Toronto. I always had some issues with the pretty demanding week in Kitzbuhel at home and everything, then go straight to Canada. It was not going well for me the last years.

But as I have one week in between these two tournaments, I decided to play Gstaad as well. I mean, I love to play Hamburg. For me it wouldn't make any sense to play one week, go from grass to clay, to Hamburg, make one week off, then go again to Kitzbuhel, then go on hard court. It's an easy decision to play Gstaad. It's more altitude than Kitzbuhel. Perfect preparation for there.

I won the title there in 2015. Anyone who has been to Gstaad, it's a freaking amazing place. It's so nice there. I'm happy actually that I have the opportunity to play there this year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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