Dominic Thiem: “Today I played my best match at this tournament”
Could you explain to us why the final match was so short-lived?
I think I was raising up my level from the first to the last match. Obviously, I played my best match today. It was pretty close at the beginning; he was playing very well at the start of the match. But then I made this one break, which was very important and from this moment on I think I took control of the match. Obviously I was doing a lot of things very well today: serving, returning, and also hitting from the base line. Also the score line was going for me and that’s why it was pretty quick, as you said.
You have noticed yourself that it’s kind of family affair here – Kristina Mladenovic had a finals here and she also won a title. Did you have a joint discussion with Kristina about playing here?
Yes, of course, we talked also about this tournament. She loved it here and I loved playing here as well. I think it’s something special for us, we both won the title in the same city at the same venue, so it’s something that doesn’t happen too often. It’s something we will talk about for a long time, I would say.
To follow up on that topic of you and Kristina: did she say something categorical to you, like “Don’t come back without the title”?
No, she didn’t do it. I’m allowed to come back without the title. As I said it’s really nice that we both won the title in the same city. Obviously we both really enjoyed ourselves in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, the ATP and WTA tournaments are played at a different time of the year, but maybe we will come back together one time. But yes, I’m also allowed to comeback without the title.
You keep on mentioning that you won your first indoor title. Maybe by winning it you overcame some kind of mental barrier and maybe now it will be easier for you to play on hard court, as the hard court indoor season is larger enough part of the season overall?
I wasn’t a mental barrier. Of course, I was thinking about it. I didn’t have so many good results over the last two years on hard court in general. And then there was that match against Rafael Nadal in New York and I saw that I can beat the best players in the world also on hard. I took this confidence with me here in St. Petersburg and I’m very happy that it’s already paid off in the first tournament after New York on hard court. Of course, I will go to next tournaments on this surface or indoor with even better confidence than before. It should also help me to play well again at my home tournament in Vienna, then in Paris and hopefully in London.
You have already mentioned the fact that you need to score more ranking points to insure your place at the ATP finals in London. But the fact that all these tournaments are so close and you played here until Sunday and another tournament is coming up. This fact that the schedule is so tight is not an impediment for you, is it?
No, because I’ll go home tomorrow to Vienna for one full week of good practice, where I can work on new things and then I will go to Shanghai in very fresh condition, so that I could make important points there. But in general I’m feeling very good, because the period before New York I was ill a little bit and I didn’t play. So I can play more now, because I’m fresh mentally and physically, so there shouldn’t be a problem.
We know that Vienna is the homeland of Sigmund Freud, who is the greatest ever psychoanalyst and psychiatrist. Do you do any Freudian things like psycho- analysis? Because sometimes the mental things may be even more important on the court than the quality of your tennis.
I don’t do, but I know that it’s very important in tennis. The biggest part of tennis is mental, because almost all the players in Top 100 play very-very well, so the mental part it’s very important in this sport. But I don’t do anything special, I think I’m pretty good at it without any training, but I also understand players who do it, because obviously it’s very important to improve this part.
We saw your opponent having some physical problems today. Don’t you think it was a way of breaking the rhythm and distracting you?
No, he had four tough matches before. In the first round it was only two sets, and then he had some long matches. I am sure he had some physical issues. He is a very dangerous player. He can hit winners without even moving. Even though he had some issues, I was still aware of it. I was trying to continue playing my normal tennis. Because otherwise it could become a close game again.
Early this week at the open press-conference you said you knew only three words in Russian. Did you take advantage of the tournament and learnt a few more?
No, unfortunately I didn’t. I tried learn some more. But Russian is very hard language. Obviously all press-conferences are in English. First, I need to learn French now, and then later maybe I could continue with Russian.
Could you share with us your goals for the next season?
First, I need to finish this season well. I think, there are some good opportunities for this year. I played decent in Australia, but then after that I was injured and was in Miami. I had opportunity to earn some points. I need to climb up the ranking. The main goal will be again to win “Roland Garros”. If I can win a title there it will be my biggest dream coming true.
Did you like the show by Dima Bilan today?
I liked the show a lot. I think it is amazing the tournaments put up something like this. I didn’t know the singer before. But he was really good. I have heard that he is pretty famous in Russia. I also like the anthem of the tournament, I think, by Uzari, right? It is very good and also important for the tournament to put shows like this.