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January 23, 2017

Grigor Dimitrov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

G. DIMITROV/D. Istomin

2-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A few weeks into 2017 and you already managed to reach goals that you missed in the past two years. How does it feel? What do you think clicked in in the off-season?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, I've been on tour for about eight years now. I kind of know what I have to do. So, I mean, I haven't done anything different different in my off-season. I think I was just very, very composed, and I had a good structure with my team. We were focusing I think on the right things.

I've learned a lot of new things about myself, I think, starting to work with Dani, with my coach. It was just nice that he came at a good time, the end of last year. As soon as the off-season was on, it was just very simple. Had quite a few big talks. We discussed what we can do better, what we need to work on, what we need to improve, and how we want to be in 2017. I mean, simple as that.

Then, for sure, the belief after. I started believing a little bit more in myself. I started the year very well, winning in Brisbane, beating good guys.

So, yeah, I think that's about it. I mean, I feel good right now. In the same time also humbled with the results I have so far. But now you enter into a different phase of the tournament, so I'm just focused on that.

Q. You're playing for a spot in the semis against Goffin. Your thoughts about the match?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's going to be a tough match, for sure, without a doubt. David is an excellent player. In a way I know what to expect from him. We've practiced against each other a few times this off-season. And he's a very dangerous player.

I just need to be ready mentally and physically for the battle. Honestly, there's not much else you can say about that.

Q. It's one thing to have a good chance on paper. It's another thing to take it. How happy are you with the way you played today and what can happen next round?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think first set I just didn't play well, and he came out too hot. He was just swinging for his shots, playing a lot of down the line, hitting his spots on the serve, so...

I mean, I knew I had to fight, that's for sure. I never wanted to underestimate him. He's an excellent player. Experienced, as well. I just needed to, you know, fight. I needed that one game to kind of get into the match and have that rhythm going.

Yeah, I mean, I was just happy with the win, for sure. I mean, I fought I think through that second set. Then the third, I was just playing very steady. I was doing the right things. In the fourth, I was just stepping in and absolutely playing my game to the point I was doing everything I wanted pretty much each game. So that gives you a lot of confidence.

Yeah, I was just excited to play again.

Q. Does the draw look like a good opportunity for you as a crack at a Grand Slam? Does it feel like it's a good opportunity because Novak isn't on this side anymore?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: ^ obviously there's been a lot of talk going on around those two guys exiting the tournament, but, I mean, you should never look at it that way, the draw is open. What does that mean? I mean, just two guys are out of the draw. Okay, big deal.

For sure it's different. I'm not saying that it's not. But in the same time, we saw that everyone can beat everyone. If you follow your own path and the way you're playing, the belief that you have, anything can happen.

Right now I think it's just important to focus one match at a time, enjoy it, embrace it. I mean, I'm so thankful to be playing, like, all these matches on such a big courts. The crowd has been amazing.

So it's an unbelievable feeling. I'm not lying. I'm happy to be on that stage of a tournament. Quarterfinals of a slam, it's great. I'm happy that I'm capable to do that. Just looking forward to the next one.

Q. What is the toughest thing when you're playing David? That he's defending so well?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think recently he's been serving really well, really well. He served his way out of trouble. I think this is, for sure, one of his biggest weapons I think right now. For sure, he's one of the greatest defenders out there.

I mean, that's what I'm saying. He's very dangerous all over the court. He can hit quite a few shots, moves well on the court, reads the game well.

It's going to be a tough match, there's no doubt about that. So as I said, I just need to focus on my game and just do my thing out there. This is what I'm going to be focusing on.

Q. In the US Open you made some popular famous quotes, which is you are falling in love with tennis. Can you talk about how it happened and how you feel now.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, I fell in love with tennis many years ago. Yeah, it was just a time that I wasn't in I think a really good mental place. I was, I don't want say grumpy, but there were things going on around. I just needed to find that inspiration again. I needed to find that way of playing and enjoying again, loving again.

So my best friend was tennis, of course. 'The person,' I was counting on that. I was coming on the court. There was just days after days I was going through that momentum. That's why I said I fell in love with the game again. It gives me the excitement. It gives me all those butterflies every day coming out to a match.

I count those moments, and I appreciate them way more than actually some of the wins or anything like that. Like the moment makes you feel, like, that special feeling.

I can give you an example. Today, the second set meant a lot more than one of my previous matches here. Even though when you're not playing good, you're fighting, you're struggling with yourself, with the shots or the opponent. To be able to dig that match out in that way, you know, that count a lot for me.

Q. Talking about falling in love, do you think that falling in love with something else than tennis did delay a little bit your rise?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: What are you referring to (smiling)? Go ahead, say it to me. It's okay.

Q. When I was young, I did like very much the young girls. Sometimes I got distracted. So I'd like to know if you get distracted, too.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: You deserve the best answer now. Let me think about it (laughter). That was the greatest thing I've heard, man. Oh, wow.

I obviously have a soft spot for that. You know, on a serious note, I always try to keep whatever else outside the court. I think when I was younger, I was struggling to kind of differentiating love from a personal love or a tennis love or whatever else, for sure.

You know, there was time, a period, that I wasn't, like, kind of sure how to deal with both things in the same time. But you learn. I guess we grow. I mean, I don't want to say I've learned from my mistakes, but I've learned myself a little bit better. I think that helps me. Hopefully it's going to help me for the future through any kind of falling-in-love stuff. But yeah.

Q. Good luck.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Thank you (smiling).

Q. In 2008 you played the Wimbledon junior final against Finnish player, Henri Kontinen? How happy were you to see him win the Barclays World Tour Finals in London?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's always nice to see a familiar face, especially when you're playing together pretty much forever. I actually played his brother once in Davis Cup. I think so, in one of those ties in Bulgaria, I played against him as well.

Henri is a great guy. We still talk about that final over there, the dropshot I did at 5-All or something. He was telling me. I don't even remember that stuff. Apparently it hurts him a lot.

It's always nice to see a fellow player kind of through the years just winning and becoming No. 1. I think winning the Masters is even more special. I'm sure he's happy with that one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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