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January 22, 2018

Grigor Dimitrov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

G. DIMITROV/N. Kyrgios

7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How was that atmosphere?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Great. It was nice. As expected, obviously. Playing against the home boy, I think it's always that way. I think everything was great. Great atmosphere tonight. Nice to play on such good conditions. The court played nice. There was no wind. It was not hot. It was not cold. It was just a great match for tennis tonight.

Q. What did you learn about yourself tonight?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: About myself? That's a fair question. I mean, I learned that I can, you know, I can switch to another gear when I really need it. I think this is something that I have been struggling obviously this tournament. The first couple of rounds or even the three first rounds I was not striking the ball well. I know that, but I was still clutch on the important moments, which was good.

But today I was just able to overtake my game completely differently, having a high percentage in the first serve, high percentage on the return. Being able to play my game a little bit more, counting a little bit more on my strongest weapons, and, yeah, I think that was a good step forward for me.

Q. How do you assess your next opponent, Grigor?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, he's gone that far. So for sure I need to be ready. Simple as that. There is no place for underestimation or anything like that. You have just got to go out there and play your tennis.

As I said, the only thing I have been focusing since day one out here on the court is really looking after my side of the game and my side of the net. This is what I want to progress. I want to be better. And it doesn't matter who I play. I just want to do better.

So each match I want to get into a different rhythm and eventually, as I said, finding that extra gear every match can really help me.

Q. It was quite a long embrace between you and Nick at the end tonight. What did you guys say to each other?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think we were very great with each other, I think. When we are off the court I think we have a lot of respect with each other. We chat with each other in the locker room and all that.

I think obviously I have seen a lot of positivity from him the past weeks, I would say. So I just obviously wished him good luck and to keep on going that way. I think it's important, and again, we all play this game to have fun, to enjoy it. I know it's a big battle out there, but, I mean, you know, we are humans, above all. I mean, yes, we compete there, but you have got to be human, above all.

Q. Can you shed any light on what he said? He was picked up on television saying "believe." That's all we heard.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Why don't you ask him? What was his answer?

Q. He says he has faith in you and thinks you can win Grand Slams.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I always want to, in a way, say what we say to each other. There is no need for this. I think it's way better to be personal. Obviously wished him good luck and believe in himself and keep playing. The rest is between us.

Q. Just talk a little bit more about Nick. Obviously, it's not that he doesn't have a coach but he does things his own way, on the court, off the court. Sometimes inspiring. Sometimes frustrating.
What do the locker room people and the game think of Nick and what do you think of him?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: To be honest, I don't spend that much in the locker room to know what everybody is thinking about him. We see how fired he can be on the court and playing unbelievable tennis. He's extremely, extremely talented, if not the most talented player out there.

Has great, like, well-developed weapon as a serve. I think overall he's done better over and over the past, I think the past months, and he's starting to find his way around the courts, around the match and everything.

So I think he's just improving, really. Again, he's a great guy. And in a way that's why we play the game. I love competing against him. I know it's frustrating at times, very frustrating, but in the same time, you know, it's for the love of the game, and I love the game. That's why I think tonight was such a good match on both ends because that was a Grand Slam match.

Q. You say he's a great guy. Does he just have a really positive spirit?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: From what I have seen, yeah. I don't know how he feels deep inside. I'm sure we all have -- you know, we have to fight our demons, I guess. We all have some.

It's a matter to harness them and let out those good spirits, especially when you come out to compete or practice.

After that, really, however everything else will unfold, we can't really tell.

Q. Is always difficult to compare two matches and opponents. The match you played against Nadal last year and the matchup tonight, do you see any sort of similarity in terms of the way you played, I mean, the atmosphere that...
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I mean, you're entering into a stage of a tournament where all these matches matter a lot more to all of us.

Yeah, and to that second week, it's always a privilege to play out on that court, out in front of all the fans. Again, obviously I knew they were on his side. It's simple as that. But it's what it is. It's part of the game. I think all these moments are just part of the game, and it's really matter how you're going to find the solution to play.

Q. Do you think you played better than last year?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's so hard to say, to be honest. It's really, really so hard to say. I mean, it's a completely different player, completely different rallies. Court positioning. I mean, I can just sit here and talk to you about that the whole night, but, I mean, every match by itself is so different. Maybe the stats will be the same or the sets might be the same and everything but in the end of the day it's a completely different match. It's one year later.

But, yeah, again, I'm just pleased with the current situation and the way I was able to, like, step up on, yeah, the moments that I really need it.

Q. How were you able to hit that high level after having some struggles in the first few rounds? You were high level from the start. At the end of the match...
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't know. I think that there's especially when you have like a long tournament, it's important to, after certain rounds, to kind of reassess your game a little bit. You reassess your behavior and kind of find a way to do something better, to change something in order for you to be better. Simple as that.

I just told myself, okay, you've gone that far. Now is the part you need to kind of start enjoying a little bit more and live in the moment. You never know how many times you're going to be able to come out on Rod Laver Arena and just play. That itself gives me the motivation and that kind of kick, hey, man, like, you're here now. Just play.

I have won quite a few matches in the past years, and I have a lot of respect coming out to play on the big stage. I mean, I respect my team, I respect the people that are watching. I think that is a great part of the game that I just love. And again, when you come to those matches, I just want to stay in that moment and just fight and do whatever it takes in order for me to win.

When you put all that together, just things started to flow, and I think that's one way of seeing things.

Q. 5-3, he has that crazy overhead he misses. Serving for the match. Doesn't work out. How deflating was that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: To be honest, when I got broken, I mean, after 15-Love point, I played a poor point. I mean, I took a bad decision to play that slice down the line, so it was my mistake. My fault. Simple as that. I just had to suck it up and go on the other side. Hey, man, come on, let's try another one. Of course, I would have loved to have finished without playing another tiebreak. But again, I didn't let myself down for a second, and the (indiscernible) was really one of my, obviously my biggest friend.

But the fact I had to hit the shots and take the right decision at the right time, especially 4-3 on my serve, hitting that inside and over the net, another big point after, another big serve. All these things, they mean so much to me, and when I'm able to do it, that gives me wings, gives me, like, hope, gives me something else to work for, and another goal, as well. And I think that's the best part now is we can hopefully get better.

Q. Deep in the tournament, you used to play fellow experienced players, but today Nick and the next match Kyle. Now you're playing against this upcoming, rather young player. When you're facing those young players, do you have a different set of mind when you're playing them? Is there other young players you're paying attention to these days?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I'm watching a lot of tennis and matches, even juniors sometimes. You need to be aware of what's coming, what's coming at you. Of course it's going to be another wave of, like, young players coming over.

I don't even consider anymore Nick and all these guys, like, the young, young. We're pretty much the same age. That doesn't matter. As I said, some people mature early. Some people develop their game early or develop physically early, so there is just so many different opponents that are playing out there.

I just look at it as another match, as I said before. This is the main thing for me is to really focus on myself. Whoever I play, it's, for me, it's to win the match. It's simple.

Q. Nick hit so many shots from so many parts of the court. How do you manage your emotions when that's going on?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Sometimes it's unpredictable. You go along with it and sometimes actually I was smiling, because it's great. Sometimes I know where he's going to play, I know that, and if he manages to catch a line or serves totally opposite where I thought he would, so, I mean, he gets frustrated at times, but you kind of need to, like, stick to your game plan and also to basically what you believe in your game, as well. It's simple as that.

Like, it was the point to start playing his game. I mean, you always need to do your game. I have always been a strong believer of that. You have to go get it, count on your shots, count on the biggest weapons, and how things are going to go in the end.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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