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January 5, 2018

Grigor Dimitrov

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

G. DIMITROV/J. Millman

4-6, 7-6, 6-3

Q. How do you feel getting out of that one?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Amazing. I mean, I've played -- I missed tennis, but I didn't know I missed it that much. Obviously, the past six, seven weeks have been just a lot of work on and off the court. So, I mean, I didn't expect to have a match like that, for sure.

But in a way, I need to expect a tough match. I mean, I've seen him play quite a few times out here, and playing really aggressive, striking the ball amazing, and it was no less tonight.

I mean, yeah, I'm the winner today, but he put himself in that position to win the match.

But in the same time, I'm just very pleased the way I played on those key points and especially on the match points. So I think that gives me a certain amount of confidence coming into any other match that I have to play now.

Q. Are you surprised how well he's performed since coming back from a groin injury?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No. I mean, I'm never going to be surprised, especially from an Aussie. They fight so hard. They work so hard. And, again, we're playing in his backyard. So he's got all the support with him and everything. So I understand the way he played as well, so I'm definitely not surprised.

Again, he put himself in that situation. It could have easily gone the other way for me tonight.

Q. You finished your season on a big high last year in London. How was your offseason and how do you feel coming into this year?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It was amazing finish, absolutely. But I just didn't think that much of that. I was on the high. I was just kind of focusing on the most important thing, like, recovery, getting back into the court, like, slowly getting the rhythm in again.

And I didn't have that much time off, to be honest. I just had about a week, a week off, and then straight into the gym. Gym, gym, gym. Started playing tennis again and, next thing you know, I find myself flying to Australia again.

Q. What was the mindset in that second set tiebreaker? He could have got you but --
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I was 3-0 up. I just knew if I could hold my serve, if I could put a few extra first serves. I think I served very poorly in that first set.

And I knew if I get my rhythm back and I win those serves, I'm having a good chance to kind of have a good hit and whether it's going to be on return or during the point. And, yeah, I got those chances and I think I used them.

And again in the match points, he couldn't have played the ball better. But also, at the same time, I thought I couldn't have done anything else besides what I did.

And, yeah, some of the shots, like, I think two of the shots in the first match point was pure instinct for me. So, I mean, I'm pleased with it.

Q. Do you feel like there's more expectations around you after what you did in Melbourne?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No. To be honest, I mean, the biggest expectations is always from me. I think this is where I'm always very hard on myself. And I think all my life I've been fighting expectations, whether they come from me, my team, people around. So I don't really think of it that way right now.

I'm just focusing on what me and my team have done so far, what we have structured, our goals. And basically like a horse with their blinders on. I just want to run in my own lane and focusing on whatever is on my side of the net and control what I can control.

Q. What do you see ahead of you have in your lane this year?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, a lot of things. I just played my first match. Just give me a bit of time, please. (Laughing.)

Q. Last year you did an arcade to take your mind of tennis. Have you done anything similar?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, of course, I have done it. Yeah, I beat my record. So that's something that I'm looking after. Yeah, but obviously tonight, I'm not going to have that much time. You know, focus on the important things of have the rehab. I've got to come out tomorrow night and play against a very tough opponent.

So number one priority right now is just rehab, get some food in, and try to get some good night's sleep.

Q. As one of the top guys, how much notice have you paid to the other guys? A lot of question marks around various people. Murray and Nishikori already out of Melbourne. Couple others still not sure if they're going to play or not. How does that affect you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: This is where all that comes to me. It's, of course, with blinders.

I mean, this is their own life and this is what is their current situation. And I'm no one to talk about, you know, their injuries or why they're not playing or why they're not trying. This is entirely up to them, their team's decision.

So, for me, again I just really want to control what I can control. And when I get out there on the court and all that, there's nothing else for me except competing.

And I know throughout all the years there were so many things around, you know, the talk and, as you said, expectations and everything.

So right now I just want to see tennis not only as, you know, my sport, my passion, my love, but it's something that obviously I've proven myself as a player, as a top player, and won big titles. But I want to even prove more to myself now that I can be there over and over again.

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