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August 20, 2017

Grigor Dimitrov

Cincinnati, Ohio

G. DIMITROV/N. Kyrgios

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You did really well in saving the break points, and as a result, he sort of didn't play too well after that and you were able to break him. Do you feel that was the key to this match today?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think the first set was very important, for sure. I thought he served pretty well. I think that was getting him out of trouble pretty much every single time, and I knew -- I mean, I knew I had to find a way just to get a few balls back and when it was very important.

I think I did that very well. Yeah, after that, I just had to keep on playing, keep on with my game plan. You know, against him, you never know what's going to come at you. I mean, he's a type of player that can do anything and can generate unbelievable amount of power from pretty much any position, so I had to be very aware of that.

That's what keeps you on the toes pretty much the whole time. Even if he's not playing well, there is still, like, weapons and certain plays that he can go to. You know, you have to be aware of that.

I think it's what I did very well. I think this is something that I think I did really well today. And, yeah, I think after that, that break in the second set was -- it was a tough game. Even after I made that return, I was thinking, like, I don't think he can serve that many serves anymore out wide, especially he got me there like three, four times before that. I was, like, well, I'm just going to cover the T. If he serves there, good for me. If not, then I have to find another way.

But I think that was just the key to be very focused and just composed throughout the whole time of the match. I mean, he's a tricky opponent. Yeah, you have to be aware all the time.

Q. When you say he can go anywhere at any time, is he pretty much unpredictable?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, arguably could be one of the best serves out there. He can do anything with the first or second serve. Can put the ball absolutely anywhere in the box. I mean, it's pretty amazing.

Even when he plays other matches, I just like to watch because sometimes second serve goes 125 miles an hour like right on the dot. You know the ball is going to go there, but there's not much you can do.

Yeah, his ability to just generate the ball from any position is unbelievable. So, yeah, I think that's about it. But in the same time, I know also my ability to defend and what to do in certain moments that I know I think I can do better than, you know, some other guys.

So today it came down to a few points I could have done better than him, and yeah, I was just able to hold my nerves.

Q. Congratulations. You spent some time in July at the Nadal Academy practicing with Rafa. I'm wondering from that experience, is there a huge imprint of Toni at that place? And is there anything that you took from that that you found helpful?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Everything, everything. Are you kidding? To practice with Rafa on his home turf? I mean, to me, he's always been one of my inspirations. Sometimes when I'm down in the match, I'm, like, if I'm complaining or something, I was, like, Would Rafa do that? I don't think so.

So, yeah, he's a great -- the week I spent with him was just pretty amazing. Just to spend time with him, not even on the court. Even off the court. We were having dinners together and just going to the beach and stuff.

So it was great. In the same time, like, the first half morning, we're just practicing nonstop. I swear to God, nonstop from the early morning. I was, like, Whoa, can we have at least the afternoon off?

The facility is great. They have done unbelievable job with everything. As soon as I went there, you felt such good vibes. Pretty much just quiet. You know what you're there for. You can feel also the weight of the place itself. Great gym, great courts. Everybody is just so welcoming and just trying to make sure that everything is done for you.

I mean, I don't want to say he, but him and his team have done an unbelievable job with everything around. And again, it's Rafa, in the end of the day, one of the greatest out there.

I was more than thankful for him letting me have that opportunity. You don't get opportunities like that. I think after today, I'm just going to text him, like, Let's do that again at some point.

So, yeah, I think there is only positive things I can take out of that week with him.

Q. First off, congratulations. How does it feel going to the US Open with that thing (pointing to trophy)?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Whew. A bit heavy (smiling).

It's great. I mean, honestly, it's great. There's no point to hide it.

Q. I don't think you can hide it.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, definitely not. But it's something that I have worked for. This is the result of it, absolutely.

But I hate to say it that way, but tomorrow I have to stop thinking about it. And this is one of the things that when you play tennis is you don't get the chance to actually, you know, appreciate that the way that you're supposed to appreciate that, right?

But I'm just happy. There's nothing else I can say, honestly. I'm just happy and I'm humbled to have that trophy in my hands, and especially to win here, my first Masters 1000. It's just amazing.

I always like this tournament. I have played it quite a few times and always thought this can be maybe one of the first ones. And it is the first one, so that's -- I will listen to my gut feeling a bit more.

Yeah, going to the Open, it's for sure a lot of positivity with it, but the most important thing now is just to stay grounded, keep on doing the same work, believe in myself, and just prepare the best way that I can for the Open.

Q. Why did you think this would maybe be the first one for you? Such a huge title. Federer won this so many times.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I like it here a lot. I just like it so much. Especially before New York. It's so quiet. You go to Dickey's Barbecue. It's just such a peaceful place to be.

I don't know why. I just appreciate the place. And also, as I said -- I was telling the tournament director he's done a great job the past years with the tournament. Everything seems to be better. The food. Transport, you have your own car. You don't need to rely on anything or anybody.

So that's great. Go around. Just do your stuff. Plenty of stuff to do whatever you want.

It's just an easy vibe, especially before New York. I know going there is going to be the first couple of days you don't want to get out of the room, but that's New York, you know.

Yeah, so that's why you have to just take that week as a -- I always like to say as a preparation, because I like to look at the big picture, and the big picture starts from tomorrow, I guess.

Q. Seems like you guys had a pretty long conversation at the net.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Uh-huh. You want to know what it is? Ahh. I don't know if I can tell you.

You know, these things usually stay between the players. I don't know that anybody wants to share that much of it. We have hit quite a few times the past weeks with him, and just had some things that were on his mind.

Basically it was just -- I was there, I guess, and he shared it with me. I mean, all I can think of is just help a friend out, not even a colleague at the time. I just said what I thought, and I guess I might have helped him. Thank God today I did not, but, I mean, but still, you know, on the court there's a difference, for sure, different kind of talk.

But off the court, we are all, you know, just regular people who just happen to be good at tennis.

Q. On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad were the nerves as you were trying to serve it out?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Oh, Jesus. I mean, after that forehand down the line on the run, I was, like, Here we go. I'm going to hit two big serves. I know that.

I was like, Jesus, not again. I barely lift my arm to serve and the ball was like bottom of the net. I was, That's not good, Grigor. You need to do more.

Moments like that, it's so different, like, there is just so many things are going through your head. You don't even think about the win. That's the problem. I wish I was thinking, oh, wow, great, I'm going to have the trophy or something. You think of, like, God, I just need to put the ball in the court. It's so simple, but the weight of your shoulder and your arm, it just multiplies by a lot.

Well, to think you have to win an extra set at some point. Okay, picture a slam. It's going to be two sets to love. It's not going to be another match.

But, yeah, as a player, I always try to just -- I just try to relax a little bit as much as I can. I have been in situations like this before, so I have kind of grown from it. But today was, I think, a bit more on the line for me. So, yeah, the weight was a bit more.

Q. Just going back to Nick for a moment, what do you appreciate about him and maybe things that most people don't know about him?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, we all see Nick on the court, for sure. But, I mean, he's a great guy. Honestly, even in the locker room he's pretty respectful to everybody. Likes to chat around with everybody. Comes to sit next to you sometimes.

Even today before the match, he was, like, Okay, let's go play. I was, like, Just give me a second, Man.

He's one of those, you know, characters that can always make you feel good. So yeah, I think a lot of players, I think, appreciate him in different ways. I seem to have just a good connection and good talk with him every time. I don't think -- I don't know him that, that well to tell you to that extent.

Q. There was a lot of expectation upon you earlier in your career.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: You think? (Laughter.)

Q. I heard about that. And now you're doing it. I'm just wondering, do you feel like you're ready to...
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I'm not going to even talk about that. I'm going to say whatever I want to say.

Q. But to become a dominant player as the big four guys are getting older and injured...
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think all of that is insight, for sure. But if you look around right now, there is a lot of guys that are playing same level as me, if not better, and anybody can beat anybody. The seeds -- to me, the seeds don't even matter anymore, 3, 5, 6, 7. We have all been seeing what's been happening in the past year and a half. Players that are maybe unseeded or lower ranked are beating players that are higher ranked.

You just never know what's going to happen in the upcoming years, for sure. I just like to take my chances the way they are right now. I mean, obviously I'm here for a reason right now, and, I mean, I expect from myself every time, of course. But to speak for that dominance that early in terms of this is just my first Masters, I mean, this is sixth, seventh title that I have won already. We need to -- I think I need to do a lot more to be able to answer that question a bit more properly.

But I'm aiming to just get better every single day, to give 100% for myself when I get out there on the court. Last, but not least, just not to disappoint my team and just work. This is just my priority right now. And again, how everything else will unfold, I can't tell you.

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