February 2, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Wolfgang, obviously Dennis got you off to a great start. Talk about how the tie played out for you.
WOLFGANG THIEM: Yeah, I mean, Dennis played a really good match. I mean, he got broken in the first game, but after they became really, really solid. Immediately he broke him back. First set was a little bit up and down, but especially the second set he played very consistent, very stable, very concentrated in important moments. He kept the intensity high.
In total, I mean, Fognini is ranked now No. 17 in the world, so for him it was a really big win. I'm really happy with his performance.
Q. Domi, the other day both you and Matteo were saying you didn't want to play each other straight off. What were your thoughts today? Was it a case of first match getting some of the rust out? How would you evaluate?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, first official match is always something different with all the tension and the nerves and everything. As I said the other day, Matteo is definitely not the greatest opponent for that because he served only I think between 210 and 220 the first serve. Was very tough for me.
I thought in general that he played a very good match. Towards the end it got better from my side, but actually I'm never the guy who has the greatest starts to a new season or after a long time off. There's many, many things to improve and to adjust still.
Well, it doesn't make it easier that I had to face a top-10 opponent in the first match after quite a long time.
Q. Dennis, on the opposite side, coming up against somebody like Fognini, it can be a bit crazy on the court. You must be feeling encouraged with the way you played against him today.
DENNIS NOVAK: Yes, of course. I'm really happy with my performance. Was a slow start, nervous start, but then I felt much better on the court, played a really solid match. Not a lot of errors.
So, yeah, I'm very, very happy.
Q. Dominic, what is the biggest challenge of the way this season is starting where you don't have the normal time to maybe play one or two events, have a week off before the Grand Slam tournament. The various things that are different this time, what is the hardest part of dealing with that?
DOMINIC THIEM: I don't think that it's a big issue. We've got at least two great matches this week with the ATP Cup, then next week straightaway the Australian Open. That's not such a long time in between.
Last year it was the same in New York and also the same in Roland Garros. Everything was different. So actually we're here since almost three weeks in Australia. That was more time to adjust and to get used to jet lag, to conditions, to everything. So way more time to adjust to that than usually. That shouldn't be a problem.
Also the preparation with the ATP Cup, it's actually amazing because there are only matches against top, top opponents.
Q. Because of the flights, longer lockdowns, do you think there's a bit of an uneven playing field going into the Australian Open because conditions weren't the same for all players?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, for the guys who were and the women who were in hard quarantine, I think it was very unlucky. It's definitely a disadvantage, I would say, because they were two weeks only in the room. All the work from the off-season is gone probably. That's really unlucky.
That's what sometimes nowadays brings, unfortunately sometimes. I hope they can build up some good shape in the nine days what they have since they're out of the room till the Australian Open and we'll see.
Q. Dominic, Berrettini has only three wins against top five in hard court. Why do you believe Matteo is so difficult for you?
DOMINIC THIEM: I think it's tough for me to play him. He has a huge first serve, then he's making a lot of pressure with the forehand. Also the match I won against him in Vienna was super close. He could have won that, as well.
I'm always having touch matches against him. Today was another one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports