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January 25, 2017

Grigor Dimitrov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


6-3, 6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you think it was going to be as straightforward as that after the first four games?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, absolutely not. I mean, I knew David is going to fight till the end. I think the first four, five games were a bit tight from both ends. I was trying to find the right groove.

The conditions were a little bit tough today. It was a little bit windy on one side. You had to find your way around the court. Toss on the serve as well. There were just a few details that I felt I had to fix in a better way.

After the first set, I felt a little bit better, for sure. Then I felt I was in control of the match after that.

Q. You had a low period in the middle of last year. You're playing incredibly well now. Was there any one point you can look back on as the turning point in your fortunes?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, I don't think so. I don't think there was one particular moment where it was, Oh, wow, now I'm starting to play good again.

I think I just keep doing the things that I was doing, what I was believing in. But, again, I think I have to give a lot of credit to my team, especially to my coach, to Daniel, to my fitness guy Sebastien, and then the other people that were there for me at the tough time.

We kept on working. We kept on doing the right things. Yeah, I mean, I think that was one of my biggest supports. I don't want to forget my family. Those two components were really amazing.

I think that was it for me. I mean, I never felt that I was doing something wrong wrong. I just felt that I was not playing and practicing well, not doing the right things.

But, yeah, with the right set of people, things started to slowly move forward for me. Now I think I'm just in a good place.

Q. You're in another semifinal. You've only dropped a couple of sets for the tournament. What makes you feel like you're able to go one step further this time?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, all the things. I feel like I have all the tools to go further, and my job isn't over yet. I'm looking forward to my match on Friday. I think I'm prepared. I think I'm ready to go the distance.

I don't shy away from that. I'm confident enough to say that I feel good physically, and overall like on the court. Just going forward with the confidence that I have built up also from the previous tournament. Now with each match I've been feeling better and better. It just all comes pretty natural right now.

Q. Can you describe in which specific ways you have matured on the court.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I can't see myself obviously from the side. But I think I'm taking better decisions when I come out on the court, better decisions in terms of points or how I'm going to play certain players or how I'm going to prepare, for example, before my matches. Little things that are important for me in order to come to the court.

I think my focus has been good. The mentality has been there. I've been present when I'm playing my matches. Just fighting. I keep on fighting. I have a good spirit on the court, being positive.

There are obviously a lot of small things that when you put them up together it makes a big difference.

Q. Dani said you have a sweet exterior but you're a fighter, and he's trying to bring that out in you.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: What do you mean?

Q. Do you feel like you're fighting or competing differently on court now? Do you feel better in that sort of aspect?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I mean, right now I'm enjoying the fight. That's for sure. I'm enjoying to run down every ball. I think also when you feel physically good and you feel well to kind of get into a match, I mean, that gives you a different perspective as soon as you get out on the court. Whoever you play, you know you're going to get your chance. That's already an advantage before you even step on the court.

But, yeah, it just pretty simple. Like I come on the court. I'm just happy to try to find a way, even if things are not going my way. Like the other day, the first set, I didn't have my racquet on the ball, so I had to find a way to do something else and something better. When I did, I'm just proud of that, that I did. Those kind of moments, as I said, they mean a lot more to me.

Q. Are you regretting your loss seven times out of eight to Nadal, but beat three times out of four Raonic? Is it an easy bet that you prefer one instead of the other?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: There's no easy bets here, my man. There's no easy bets out here.

Whoever I play, yeah, I don't really care.

Q. Not the slightest preference?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: In order to win a slam, there's no shortcut. If you think about it, I mean, when have you seen an easy semifinal or something like that? You got to work for it. Whoever I'm going to play, I have to fight, I have to be ready.

Q. Are you fully concentrated on that semifinal? Is there anybody that can distract you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Nothing, nothing. Nothing is distracting me so far. I mean, I know what you're referring to, again.

But, no, no, everything is good. I'm enjoying a lot my downtime in Melbourne. I've been going out to the parks recently, so I'm staying away, out of trouble. As I said, I'm enjoying my time here. I'm enjoying coming out on the court. I'm going to enjoy other things maybe next week (smiling).

Q. You said things are simple for you now on court. What are the sort of things that used to make it complicated that you've been able to block out?

Q. Yes, or off.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think I have straighter priorities right now. I know what I want from myself as soon as I come to a tournament. I know why I worked. I think also to have a nice and good schedule, to know what you're doing week after week. You know, you win a match, what's the next step? Whether it's rehab or to grab some food, to recover, these are the things that I've just been really focused on.

It's not to the point that I'm too crazy about it, but I feel like I'm doing the right things. I think that itself helps me to simplify everything around me.

Again, I think we all work really good as a team right now. I think we all got the goal, and that is to win.

Q. Years ago when Goran Ivanisevic started to win, some of the old Croatian media started to appear at the slams. Is something changing in the Bulgarian media? Are more people following you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: So far, I mean, I haven't seen any major change, so to speak. Who knows.

Q. Do they show your matches on TV in Bulgaria?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yes. I think mainly when you play on the bigger courts.

Q. The gap between juniors and making it at the top on the full tour seem to be getting longer at the moment. It's nearly 10 years now since you were a top junior. What have you had to learn in that intervening time to make you a regular on the top level?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: First of all, tennis has changed so much. I think my first time I played a professional match I think was against Tomas Berdych. I was 17 years old. Played in Rotterdam. I beat him that time. I had to play Rafa second round. He just came off from a win here. It went to a third set. I mean, I kind of thought like, Wow, I'm there.

I was nowhere to be close. I mean, it took me another two years to get to the top hundred and all that.

It's just there's so many things that are different than before. I wish I could give an example. I mean, but I see the juniors nowadays, a lot of kids, they're like 6'5", 6'4". They already have a tremendous advantage. They have the right people in terms of team. Some come with psychologists, fitness guys, a physio, this and that.

Personally I couldn't afford that till I was like 23 probably, 24. You just can't compare one thing to another. Again, tennis has changed so much. But for sure, I think you're going to see a lot of juniors doing good this year if not next, for the upcoming years.

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