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February 1, 2021

Wolfgang Thiem

Dominic Thiem

Dennis Novak

Philipp Oswald

Tristan-Samuel Weissborn

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Team Austria

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Wolfgang, please tell us how the preparation is going and how you see the first tie against Italy tomorrow.

WOLFGANG THIEM: Today we had the possibility to practice the first time in the arena. I mean, conditions were really nice. I mean, we were preparing well in the last two weeks.

So looking forward for interesting match. I mean, we have all the 12 nations there, that the teams are really, really strong, the best players there. So, I mean, from the first match on, it will be really close. We, all the team, has to compete on a really high level.

Q. Domi, a little while ago Matteo Berrettini said he wasn't, he was laughing, that he had to play you first up. How do you feel about playing him?

DOMINIC THIEM: Well, I mean, our head-to-head is tied 2-All. Towards the end of 2019 we had three amazing matches in deep stages of big tournaments, high quality. Looking forward to play him again.

We have a very good relationship, always fun matches against each other. But he's a big, big player, so I'm also not too happy that he's the first guy I have to face in a new year after quite a while without an official match.

It's going to be interesting. I hope the guy next to me is putting away some pressure for me.

Q. Dennis, you had three close matches last year. Do you feel this event, based on last year's event, gives you the optimum preparation to start off the year?

DENNIS NOVAK: Of course, I mean, I have two tough opponents with Fabio and Benoit. I played both of them already, so I know what I can expect.

But I'm very looking forward. We prepared really well. But, yeah, I think it's a good preparation for the Grand Slam also.

Q. Domi, how do you compare the playing surfaces here and in New York? Is there a difference or exactly the same?

DOMINIC THIEM: I mean, for me, every single court in the big tournaments are different. I mean, the surface, of course, it's the same. With the size of the stadium, with the view, always depends. If the roof is closed, open, how many people are sitting in. That's also one big thing about tennis, that every day conditions are changing.

Here can be hot, so it's faster one day, then the next day it's, like, 20 degrees cooler or the surface and the court are way slower.

But I think it's not too much of a difference. I mean, we had the first practice before in John Cain Arena. I think it's pretty similar to last year. I liked it a lot. It's also not too much difference to New York. So should be fine for everybody, a pretty fair surface.

Q. Philipp and Tristan, what did you observe and what have you heard from your teammates about the ATP Cup? Are you looking forward to competing for your country?

TRISTAN-SAMUEL WEISSBORN: I'm just very honored to be here, be part of such a great team. Everybody was just speaking very positive about the ATP Cup. That's why I was also pumped to prepare very well the last few weeks. Just looking forward to start tomorrow.

PHILIPP OSWALD: Yeah, the same. I'm also honored to be here, thanks to Dominic. Really looking forward for these next days. It's also good preparation for all of us for Australian Open. Probably better than the last two weeks in hotel room, so... Really excited (laughter).

Q. Domi, coming off 2020, which was so phenomenal for you, your thoughts about having to defend all that, try to repeat what you did last year? Obviously we're going to have crowds this year at this time. The importance of that? So often you hear players talking about the sound of a ball coming off an opponent's racquet, how crucial that is. Can you maybe gauge that, as well, the difference it makes without the crowd.

DOMINIC THIEM: The first part of your question, of course, I try to repeat the success of 2020 and also 2019. Was amazing years. But there's never a guarantee for that. I mean, in a Grand Slam tournament or ATP Cup, all the big tournaments, the whole draw is super strong, so never a guarantee to go deep or to win a title.

I'll try everything to do it. I had, again, quite a good preparation. So try to have a good start at the ATP Cup, then also in the Australian Open.

The second part of the question. In the beginning, the US Open or Cincinnati, it was very, very strange to play in the huge stadiums without crowd. But then me personally, I got used to it. I mean, it was never that fun because I had the feeling, especially in London, for example, there were matches with a very high level of tennis, just no crowd, so it was super strange. But playing-wise, I got used to it.

The same will be here if there's a crowd again. It will take probably some games or half an hour, hour, to get used to it again because it is different with all the sound. Somehow maybe you're a little bit more nervous because you also play for the crowd. You want to entertain them. It's still different if there are people watching only from the TV or also live.

I guess it's going to be different. But it's good in the ATP Cup, less crowd. Going to be more full at the Australian Open so we get a little time to get used to it again.

Q. Having an event like the ATP Cup beforehand, are you in a certain gear, then when next week comes you click it into a higher gear? Are you conscious of that before going into a slam?

DOMINIC THIEM: No, I think we all try to be in the top gear from the first point tomorrow on. First of all, we have super strong opponents so we need our top gear to have a chance to win. As well, the faster we get into the top gear, the better it is. Well, you just cannot calculate like this, to start a little bit slower in the ATP Cup, then be on the top in the Australian Open. It doesn't work like that.

The best would be to be hundred percent from tomorrow on.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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