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Australian Open: Wolfgang Thiem - "Dennis Novak has always followed the more difficult path"

Dennis Novak is the only Austrian to have qualified for the main field of the Australian Open 2020 alongside Dominic Thiem . For coach Wolfgang Thiem, this is a logical consequence of the hard work.

by Jens Huiber
last edit: Jan 18, 2020, 12:14 pm

Dennis Novak has to face Hubert Hurkacz
© Getty Images
Dennis Novak has to face Hubert Hurkacz

After the tight first set against Hiroki Moriya, Dennis Novak made the mark in the qualifying final early in the second set for victory. The reward is a meeting with Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Dominic Thiem at the ATP Cup and is ranked 31st in Melbourne.

Wolfgang Thiem, the Novak coach, was very satisfied in the interview with tennisnet.

tennisnet : Mr. Thiem. How do you rate Dennis Novak's appearances in qualification?

Wolfgang Thiem : Dennis has been waiting a long time to be among the first 100 players in the world. He more than deserved this by beating Guido Pella at the ATP Cup. He always went the more difficult way at tournaments, he was never one who calculated. Dennis chose the tournaments where the competition was fierce, such as indoor events in France, rather than going to Asia. Therefore, the performance counts even more. We knew playfully that he could do it.

tennisnet : Novak went into qualification as number one. Stress or motivation?

Thiem : Maybe that was a brief topic. But he messed up the match against Dominik Koepfer at the Challenger before Wimbledon, he has now learned to deal with such situations. With a little luck, he would have been number one in qualifying right in the main field, even if he had won against Sebastian Ofner at the Challenger in Ortisei. He was often close, now he has done it, that's ticked off.

tennisnet : In qualifying there is the possibility to coach the players from the stands. For you a model that can also be transferred to regular game operations?

Thiem : I think the coaching is good because you can take the player, talk about a few things. I would like to see it done more often.

Novak in the first round against Hurkacz

tennisnet : Dennis Novak must now play against Hubert Hurkacz. Not exactly a reward ...

Thiem : Hurkacz is certainly not a wishless one, but it's fine. He played very well at the ATP Cup and this week in Auckland. He serves well, but Dennis fits that pretty well. He has a good return.

tennisnet : Your son is number five in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. If the ATP Cup had done better, if it had been one position higher, it would have had a different, probably better draw. Was that an issue internally?

Thiem : Everything is fine with Dominic. He has not dealt with the constellation in the world rankings any further. Whether you play against a Tsitsipas , Medvedev or Federer, Djokovic, Nadal in the quarter-finals, I don't see much difference anymore. They are all at such a high level that they can all beat each other, including the Big Three. Playing against Tsitsipas, Medvedev, but also Zverev or Shapovalov is now not much less challenging than against Djokovic or Nadal.

Muster, Massu and Thiem work

tennisnet : Dominic starts against Adrian Mannarino. Satisfied with the lot?

Thiem : The draw is ok for me, you shouldn't get upset. But you also have to accept the task. If you are in position five, a certain result is also expected. You have to face this task. There would have been really unpleasant lots like Marin Cilic or Kevin Anderson. Dominic was spared that. Mannarino is fine, because we know that Dominic has to do his best.

tennisnet : Thomas Muster is new to the team. How is the cooperation going?

Thiem : This collaboration works well, Thomas Muster has brought in good accents. It was important to me that this harmonized with the Nicolas Massu. Nico plays a very important part because I wanted him to continue playing this role. And Muster brings in his experience as number one, as a former Grand Slam winner. It works great. We all get along well. And if I go back a step or two in the spirit of Dominic's development and look at the whole thing from a distance, I have no problem with that either.

by Jens Huiber

Jan 18, 2020, 03:04 pm
last edit: Jan 18, 2020, 12:14 pm