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Dominic Thiem: The Biofile

Thiem© Getty ImagesDominic Thiem is at a career-high World No. 79 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Dominic Thiem is up to a career-high World No. 79 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching the third round at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (l. to Benneteau) and winning his first Grand Slam main draw match after qualifying into the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old Austrian talks about his friendship with Ernests Gulbis, reveals his favourite ice-cream flavour and talks about how he deals with pre-match nerves in this Biofile with Scoop Malinowski.

Tennis Inspiration: I look up to many players. I didn't have one big idol. I really enjoyed watching tennis and liked a lot of the players of the last decade, particularly Roger Federer, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andy Roddick.
 
First Tennis Memory: My parents are both tennis coaches and also played themselves, so they took me always to the court. That's my first memory, nothing special.
 
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: Stefan Koubek from Austria, in Vienna. We had the same coach.
 
Last Book Read: ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown.
 
Pre-Match Feeling:  I try to think not about the match. Otherwise I get nervous. So I try to think about anything else but the match.
 
Current Car: I drive a black BMW.
 
Greatest Sports Moment: I think it was my first Grand Slam main draw win in Australia this year against Joao Sousa.
 
Most Painful Moment: Maybe when I lost the final in the 2011 Roland Garros juniors.
 
Strangest Match: Well I played in a Morocco Futures once and it was minus degrees and raining. The water was already on the court. But we still played because they couldn't postpone it because it was already Sunday night. That was probably the strangest moment. It was a doubles match and I lost.
 
Favourite Tournaments: I like my home tournaments in Kitzbuhel and Vienna.
 
Three Athletes You Like To Watch And Follow: I like to watch Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid and Eden Hazard from Chelsea. And I like Steve Nash in the NBA. 
 
Closest ATP Friends:  Ernests Gulbis.
 
Funniest Players Encountered: Also Gulbis [laughs]. I think he's by far the top.
 
Favourite Sport Outside Tennis: Soccer.
 
Favourite Ice Cream Flavour:  Stracciatella. It's vanilla with pieces of chocolate.

Why Do You Love Playing Tennis?: Because it's one of the few sports where it's one against one. And you don't need anything from outside to win. You just need to be better than your opponent on this day. You are not depending on anything; you just need to be better on the day. And that's why I love the sport.

Funny Tennis Memory: I will say I smile when Gulbis smashes a racquet. Because I know him well. I’ve known him very well for the past three years. And he's quite different off the court and on the court. So I enjoy watching his matches. 

Off the court he's a really nice guy. He's a very intelligent guy. And on the court he seems like sometimes he's not very nice...and so probably some people think that he's also like that off the court. But that's not true. He's one of the nicest guys that I've ever met. I think it's really funny to watch him and I think the sport needs characters like him.
 
People Qualities Most Admired: I like it if people are friendly, if they are loyal and if they are not arrogant. I think the most important thing is to be nice and to be friendly.  

Courtesy of Scoop Malinowski, tennis-prose.com

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