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March 10, 2018

Fernando Verdasco

Indian Wells, California

F. VERDASCO/G. Dimitrov

7-6, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you talk about your win today.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, just after the match on court said that, you know, it was amazing always the feeling when you come one tournament like this in a stadium with good atmosphere against one of the top players in the world. You know, you're able to do your job and have a good day and win the match.

So it was a really good feeling, like, super happy to win through this tough opponent and this tough round. And what can I say? Just to enjoy the victory and try to keep it going like this next round, and hopefully to make it in the tournament as long as possible.

Q. What do you think made the difference today?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I think that the match kind of, like, went up-and-downs a little bit, at least the two first sets with a break that he made me at the beginning. Then I just break him back just the game after. With 2-1, he broke me. And 3-1, I broke him back.

And I think that, you know, after that tiebreak, I was just a little bit more solid than him. Close one. Second set I start serving, I think, really bad, actually. Honestly making -- I think, if I'm not wrong, in two games two double faults on each one, and giving him the possibility to go 3-0 in the score with two breaks. After that, I broke him once.

But, you know, after an opponent like this, to come back from two breaks down, actually, for me it was almost impossible. And even like that, I tried. I was -- I felt close, but, you know, didn't been able to come back. He just close the set pretty good.

And I think that the third set I serve much better than any other two sets. I start serving, like, I think most first serves and actually, like, like harder, like faster.

And then in the game with 4-3, I think I just made like an unbelievable lob, that backhand down the line, and then he helped me with the double fault, and I been able to break him. And the last game, I also serve really good with two aces to start the game. That give you a little bit of breathe. And with 40-Love, you know, I just -- I lost that point. But then with 40-15, I close the match. You know, I felt really good.

I knew that I just needed to keep pushing hard the serve. Because if I change and I start to put, like, kind of like first, second serves in to try to play with first serve, but then also doesn't hurting him so much, maybe, you know, he was returning so much, like, on top of the line, if he connect two or three good returns, it was going to be tough. So I just went for it and it went well.

So, you know, I think that was the key at the end, that at the end of third set I served better than him. So I been able to break him and then close the match with that.

Q. Just talk about overall -- I know you have been on tour -- for what is it? 15 years now?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, this is the 16th.

Q. 16th. You still appear to really love playing all the time. Yes?

Q. You never get bored?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: No. I mean, tennis was always my life since I'm a baby. I always love this sport. I always love to play.

Of course you always have some crisis in your life that you just -- I mean, you like to play but maybe you just want to go on a beach and just relax some days with friends.

But actually, when I'm away for maybe a week, maybe 10 days, I miss it. And then I just want to go back to the court, to the gym, and work and try to keep improving and working hard to stay in the top level and being able to fight against the best players in the world, no?

Being able to go out to the court like today or like last week or the week before and just know that you are ready to fight these guys, no? Now I'm 34 and I have to -- I have to fight against players with 21, 22, 23 that, you know, that they are much younger. They have, like, much less miles or kilometers (smiling) in his legs. And I just have to -- I just have to work really hard and keep that motivation high to be able to win matches.

Q. You still think you'll improve even though you're getting older? Just like Federer is out there, right?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: That's what I try to do. Of course everybody is always trying to improve. I have been trying to improve many things during many years. Of course, the best weapons of my game, I know them, and maybe everybody knows them.

You know, I just try to work hard on -- I don't know -- hitting harder first serves sometimes, because I was sometimes losing matches because, in the important moments with my serve, I was just kind of like not pushing. But just playing with first serves maybe 100 miles, and maybe I need to serve 125, 130, 135 sometimes, even if I miss.

But that's what really makes you improve, and sometimes you have to take the risk. Like today, I did. Sometimes it doesn't go well. But some of the times does, like today, no?

And actually, like, for example, one match with Andy Murray, fourth round in Australia when I did semifinals, the fifth set against him, I start serving, like, 130 all the time. And I surprised kind of his return, because he was waiting for me wide, wide, wide, and then I start to do T hard, and many free points I got.

So I think that's the improvement, that's the serve. But in many other things there is improvement that you try to do. Is not easy with pressure and all that, but is what I try to do and improve in my game. And hopefully I will still have time to improve in more things and stay for few more years on the tour.

Q. Your forehand has always been there, but the backhand, you have had to work, work, work, just like Federer, yeah?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, kind of. Of course every player, we are different. My forehand, like you said, was always there, always, I mean, good, or feeling good. Sometimes better than others, but in general always feeling good. The backhand, like you said, sometimes not that regular or maybe hurting that much.

So maybe I have to work my footwork to try to play with my forehand as much as possible. Backhand be aggressive. Changing, you know, mix it up, high, low, slice.

You know, I think that -- and also depending on who you play. Everything change about that. So there is players that you feel kind of more comfortable, even if it's hard, but you feel more comfortable playing against than another just because his style of game hurts a lot your style of game. You try to change your game to hurt him, and at the end you're hurting yourself because you're not doing what you know how to do the best.

So in the end, it's kind of like confusion because you lose because you don't know what you're doing on the court. That's the worst feeling when you jump on court and you lose doing that.

But, yeah, I mean, like I said, always trying to improve as many things as I can, and I think that's the key to keep win and go staying in the tour, because everybody does the same. If you doesn't do it, then you go back. I think that's very important.

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