THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Another nice win for you, especially against an opponent who can be tricky with that serve. Talk about how you felt out there.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I have so much respect from him because he’s 40, still competing in the world class. That’s the first thing. And the second, yeah, I was curious how it’s going to be. Was the first match against him on the tour.
And I made two breaks in the right moment, I would say. And on my serve, I was very solid. I just saw the stats. 87% first serves. I never had that, I guess. So that was the key, for sure.
I felt pretty confident on my own service games. That’s what I transferred also to the return games after.
Q. How did you avoid him all these years? I’m surprised you guys never met somewhere along the lines.
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I’m also surprised. Some guys, Gilles Simon, I play almost every week. Ivo, I never faced him. Pretty tricky, but I hope I can avoid him again in the next period of time (smiling).
Q. You always seem to play really well here. What is it about this tournament you seem to like?
DOMINIC THIEM: For sure, it’s pretty unique here with the desert air. Here I played my first ever Masters 1000 event, 2014. I felt good from the first moment here. To me, it’s like almost like a clay court, just where you cannot slide, because the bounce is pretty high, especially when it’s sunny, when it’s warmer during the day.
Somehow it’s strange because it’s a slow court, but the ball is going fast through the air. It’s very good conditions for me. Also for guys like Kohlschreiber, for example, who like to have a little bit of time, who like to play with a little spin, I think these kind of players love it here.
Q. We were talking with Miomir Kecmanovic about your off-season training in Tenerife, and he said it was really difficult for him and it opened his eyes to what the top pros need to do in the offseason. Talk about what you think about him as a player, and what do you think he thought was so difficult about that experience?
DOMINIC THIEM: Three months, that it pays off finally, for both of us.
No, he’s a very nice guy and was also good to practice, because it is always tough, the preseason, especially with us. And he was doing all the program with us, the fitness, tennis, a lot of hours on the court, off the court. He did it from the beginning to the end. It’s no surprise to me that he, I think, breaks now to the top 100. He has a really good result here. Yeah, the hard work pays off.
He’s also a good guy to practice with. He’s very solid, moves well. You have long rallies with him. You get a good rhythm. It was nice, yeah.
Q. Did you know him previously? How did it come about that he joined your group in Tenerife?
DOMINIC THIEM: No, I just practice with him once when he was a hitting partner at ATP Finals. I didn’t know him. He was just there. I didn’t know it. But of course there I got to know him better and it was a good time.
Q. You don’t know who you’re going to face next. Could you talk about the two possibilities?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, I mean, I know both guys well. Kohlschreiber, like I said before, we have a little bit of a similar game. He likes it here. Also, he likes to play with a lot of topspin. That’s how he was beating Novak with his high, loopy balls. He’s such a solid and good player since a long time.
And Gaël, he has a very good season so far. Won Rotterdam, played good Dubai. When he’s on, I think everybody knows what he’s capable of. Hard to hit a winner against him. He’s so fast and he can also put a lot of pressure. It’s going to be a tough match and completely different than today, and for sure also great fun.
Q. This tournament allows you to choose your walkout music. That was a unique feature of this tournament.
DOMINIC THIEM: The walkout music? Well, I didn’t think it’s that unique. It’s almost in every tournament I could choose it. Yeah.
Q. I just want to follow up. I know we have heard a little bit about you being ill off and on over the last six weeks or so and it’s been hurting your forearm, causing you issues. Is it behind you now?
DOMINIC THIEM: Yeah, it’s behind me. I had a long season last year. It was very tough and long. Maybe I took off a little bit too short. I went almost straight to the offseason, which was again tough. That’s why I got ill in Australia. I was not in the best shape also in the tournaments after.
The previous days here in Indian Wells helped me a lot to get back to my physical top level and also to play good tennis again, because I was here I think 11 days before the tournament. So it was 11 days of good practice.
Yeah, that’s where I got my good feeling and my good tennis and also the good physical health back.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2019-03-14 02:53:00 GMT