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August 30, 2018

Alex di Minaur

New York, NY, USA

A. DE MINAUR/F. Tiafoe

6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Second major in a row third round. Must feel pretty darn good.
ALEX DE MINAUR: Yeah, I'm very happy. Especially after Wimbledon where I had an amazing run. To be able to back it up in the next major, really proud of my efforts. It shows how I'm doing things in the right direction. Just got to keep focused, keep trying to get better.

Q. Are you surprised the way the first two sets went?
ALEX DE MINAUR: Uhm, look, going into the match, you have this tactic. If you're able to execute the tactic well, I always knew that Frances could have some drops, but his high level is also amazing. The most important thing for me today was to try to keep in the moment throughout the whole match, just try to take my chances. That's what I was able to do.

Q. Nice to be in the big room getting some recognition? Would you prefer to fly under the radar?
ALEX DE MINAUR: Doesn't really bother me either way. This is more like just the off-court stuff. What really matters is when I step out there on court to play my matches, to train. That's what you really got to focus on. This sort of off-court stuff, yeah, doesn't matter if you're in a small room or in a huge room, whatever. I just like to take it day by day.

Q. Give yourself a decent chance at beating Cilic? Had some big wins over big servers this year.
ALEX DE MINAUR: It's going to be another tough match. He's obviously a quality opponent who has won here. But saying that, I'm looking forward to the opportunity. It's another chance for me to see where my game's at against these higher level opponents. Just have a good crack and leave it all out there.

Q. When Frances was coming in the third set, how do you handle the crowd being right behind him? Is that the first time you've had that at this level?
ALEX DE MINAUR: Well, coming in, you got to expect that. I mean, you're playing a young American guy, very talented. Obviously the crowd are going to get behind him.

Going in, I knew what was going to happen. So I just tried to stay in the moment, focus on what I had to do, just made sure to reset after that third set and come out firing again.

Q. You're close in age. How long have you been aware of him? Junior tournaments? What are your first memories of Frances?
ALEX DE MINAUR: I've known Frances for a very long time. Coming in the juniors, all that. Obviously I'm a year younger than him. When I was playing the juniors, he was pretty much already playing seniors, so...

We've always been close. He's one of the nicest guys out there. Nothing but respect for him.

Q. Where did you get close?
ALEX DE MINAUR: Just as we got on tour together. I mean, as I said, he's such a nice guy. From when I first sort of started playing these tournaments, ATP tournaments, he's always been there, good friend for me. Always made me feel welcome.

Q. Do you see this as possibly the first of many matches you will have?
ALEX DE MINAUR: For sure. It's great we're actually out here battling it out on such a big occasion, on a big court. Just shows that our generation right now are really trying to make strides. I couldn't be prouder of all of us. We're all out here pushing each other and trying to get better. That's great to see.

Q. You mentioned tactics. What is the main tactic against Frances?
ALEX DE MINAUR: As I said, got to be very tough mentally because Frances has an unbelievable high level. At stages in the match, he's just going to absolutely hit you off the court, play some ridiculous tennis.

I just had to really just stay in the moment, keep trying to take care of my serve. I was going to get a couple chances here and there. I think we both didn't have our best serving days. There was a lot of grinding on each other's serve. That was probably the most important part, being able to hold serve today.

Q. The balance of staying back on the baseline battle, you could see you want to try to get forward as much as you possibly can. Obviously need to make the right decisions. If we look at the generation coming through, a lot of powerful hitters from the back of the court. You go out always trying to get in?
ALEX DE MINAUR: I think what's really important is to have that versatility, to have that game style where you can just adapt to every situation. Every day is a different day, playing against a different opponent, different conditions.

I think it's really important to be able to adapt. That's something that I try to work on, adapt to the situations. Obviously I prefer to come in as much as I can and play on my terms, but sometimes, you know, you just got to be more patient. That's what I had to do today.

Q. You had a great run in Australia at the start of the year, then faded. This year, same great run and then backed it up. What has been different mentally for you?
ALEX DE MINAUR: I think a year of experience, a year of learning. It's what I'm always trying to do. Last year was pretty much a learning year. It was my first proper year on tour. I started really well. Obviously my level wasn't where I wanted it to be. I sort of expected things, as well.

I just had to sit down and just learn from the occasion, try not to make the same mistakes. That's something I'm proud of. I feel like I've done way better this year.

There's always room for improvement.

Q. Both Frances and you are from Grand Slam countries, proud tennis traditions. Both have been waiting for a Grand Slam champ on the men's side. How does that expectation or hope affect you? Do you embrace that or block it out?
ALEX DE MINAUR: To be fair, I don't really think about it. Obviously, you know, in some time it would be unbelievable if I could win a Grand Slam, do it for my country as well. But these days I'm just thinking day by day, just trying to get better really.

Each day I feel like is another opportunity for me to just improve on the small little things. Hopefully, you know, one day I can get to that level.

Q. Playing next will be probably one of the big courts. How big was the Nadal experience on Centre Court at Wimbledon going to be coming into a match against Cilic?
ALEX DE MINAUR: Very important. Obviously that was my first real experience on a major court, against a top-three opponent. I feel, like I said before, I've been taking these things as learning experiences. I feel like I'm better prepared this time around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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