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May 28, 2017

Grigor Dimitrov

Paris, France


6-2, 6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Grigor, congrats. How does it feel to finally get the first round win here? It's been a few years.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I was sure that question was coming. It's great. I'm so happy. It's good. You know, it's always good to win that first match, especially at any Slam, but here for the past three years I haven't been able to win a match.

So just today was a good day for me to start a good campaign. You know, I like my chances out here. I like the clay. So I just want to make sure that I'm doing the right things in order to win every round.

Q. Does that kind of record from the last three years creep in your mind before a match like today?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No. No, no, no, not anymore, I think. It's important when you're focused on your job and your goal not to think about these things. It happens for sure.

One of the first times passing by the grounds a week ago, I was just like, Wow, you know, I'm back here again. I was like, Come on. This year is different. Different mentality.

But, yeah, I had good practices leading up to this week. So, yeah, I'm just taking one match at a time right now.

Q. You had a fantastic start of the season. After that, you hadn't results as you hoped for, I guess. What happened then? Were you overplayed from the good start or what?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No. I just played -- I played good match. I played a lot of matches, which was important for me. I had to get my ranking high up.

Yeah, I don't think I've been playing that bad to be honest with you. I've been playing good tennis, just a bit unfortunate in certain tournaments, match points here and there.

So I wouldn't call that bad play. I'm putting myself in those positions to win and it just didn't go my way this time. And, yeah, the clay court hasn't been the best season so far for me, but I'm right there, and I think I can compete with the best ones on a clay court. I've been playing good tennis. I think my tennis has improved a lot.

So it's just switching that mentality and, you know, trying to be more positive, trying to be more -- even more disciplined, more focused on the days of the matches.

Yeah, overall just be a better player, and I think this is what I've been focusing on, and I believe in the process and I believe that is going to happen.

Q. And what are your expectations for Roland Garros after the semifinals in Melbourne?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I mean, every Slam I have always had expectations. I like my chances of playing best of five sets. I think I have the stamina and the endurance to go all the way.

But, right now, I'm trying to lower my expectations since I haven't had the best start on the clay this year. So I'm just trying to take it one match at a time and really, you know, stay humble and compete.

Q. You're facing Tommy Robredo in the next match who is an experienced clay court player. He battled past Evans today. What are your expectations for that match?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's going to be an interesting match for me. I mean, that's a pretty good round to play. Robredo is -- I played him actually once this year and I didn't do so good against him. So I'm looking forward to play that match again. Different conditions here. Different atmosphere for sure, best of five sets anything can happen.

Yeah, but I just need to go through my routines now in the next couple of days and probably watch a little bit of the match between him and Evans and see what I can probably do better and make sure that I'm 100% ready for the next match.

Q. I would like to talk on another topic. The finals of the young guns will have a new system with games to four, shot clock, and stuff like this. What is your opinion about that? Would you like to play this kind of tennis or you're more of a traditionalist?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Fortunately, I'm not that young anymore so I'm not going to be able to compete. Yeah, I think it's great, great idea behind it. I never had this when I was playing in Juniors.

So I think the best thing is that ATP and, of course, our chairman, Chris Kermode, are doing one of the best work that I've ever seen in tennis. I think tennis has evolved so much throughout the four or five years. It's been a tremendous success overall with the prize money and everything.

So I think they're doing a great job and something like this for the NextGen, it's a great thing. And I believe everybody should play on that because there should be no exceptions because this is also how you represent the sport that you're playing. You're an ambassador of tennis, and that's pretty amazing. I mean, I wish I was 20 right now to just get out there and make sure that I get to that top final.

Q. Grigor, you have experienced different types of pressure throughout your career, so when you were younger it was the Federer reference and that kind of stuff.

Q. How do you compare that kind of pressure with the pressure that comes now with the fact that you are highly ranked and difficult to beat and you have a target on your back?
A. I mean, this is great. I mean, that's why we play. We like the competition. We like to prove things to ourselves, I think, as a player and as a competitor.

It's never easy. I mean, the pressure is always different. When I was younger, it was, How can I get to top 30? After, I was, How can I get to top 20? Then it was, How can I get to top 10? Next thing is like, How can I stay top 10? Next thing you know, you're chasing those big titles.

So yeah, I mean, it's such a fine line, though. This is the bottom line. It's such a fine line. Everybody can beat everybody. The competition is so tough nowadays. So it's just those little details that make the biggest difference. It's just as simple as that. Tennis is, I think, just a simple game for -- you know, for, I guess, for intelligent people so...

Q. Simple in what way?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's just simple. Like, you know, if you're clear in your head, you know what you're doing, it's just simple. You know, it's just you know the rules. You know what you got to do. You got to follow your path.

And, yeah, just enjoy it. I think every time you get out there on the court, whether it's practice or a match, I think it's very, very important to enjoy those moments, because you never know. You never know.

And like today, me playing on center court, I did not expect at all to play on that court. And when that happened, I was like, Well, thank God I'm playing here.

You know, like, it's that appreciation for the sport itself and also playing in front of that crowd. You always remember these moments. You're going to turn back, Oh, I played on that court. I won my match. So it's like, yeah, you take pride on that.

Q. You sound very different to how you sounded last year in terms of positivity, and I'm just wondering what lead to that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, work, maturity, there's just so many things. I mean, the different stages of your life. You're trying to figure, you know, what rocks your boat and what is important to you, and you are starting to find things that are more simple to you and you value the things differently.

And, for me, I think overall I've done, I think, a lot of improvement on myself on and off the court. I got my priorities straight. I have the right people around me and just trying to be as simple as possible so when I'm out there on the court I can take the decision to hit the ball.

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