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September 21, 2018
G. DIMITROV/F. Tiafoe
Team Europe - 1
Team World - 0
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Team Europe.
Q. Is this the best match you have played all year?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: What do you think (smiling)? Yeah, you can say so. Yeah, it was a great match today. I felt quite good. I mean, I moved well and served even better, I thought.
I mean, everything is in a positive note right now. But again, it's not about me. It's about the team.
Q. What's your comfort level? You play well indoors. Obviously you served great today. Talk about that a bit.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, indoors, I think it's pretty easy to adjust your game quicker than anywhere else. I mean, you don't have to think about the wind, the sun, or anything like that.
Plus we had enough days of practice with all the players, enough time to feel the balls, to feel the court, to kind of pick up the right strategy.
So, yeah, I enjoy playing indoors a lot. Every time I get to play, I feel like everything, like, moves a little bit faster, a little bit smoother.
I was just trying to embrace that and of course just focus on one game at a time. I haven't competed for the past, like, four or five weeks, so I was obviously a little bit nervous coming into the match. But I think those are the nerves you kind of build on a bit. After each game, I started being a little bit more comfortable.
Q. Coming in, you started very strong with that love hold. He made some big adjustments in the second set. How did you read that and what did your teammates help you with to stay positive going through that second set?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Just looking back and seeing who are my teammates, I mean, that itself gave me the right confidence.
I mean, obviously this guy also now on my other side, constantly pumping me up was great. I mean, I think we're all pretty good with one another. We just say the right things at the right time.
It's nothing crazy. It's just keeping good energy, keep on the same line, things like that that are really keeping me into that head space and obviously was one of the first times that I felt like this. You know, going out there and you just having guys high-fiving you on every changeover, and you can actually hear them talking and things like that.
I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere around it. I think that itself helps you for your energy to boost up and of course play better tennis.
Q. Being Bulgarian, you don't have too many chances in Davis Cup. What does playing on a team like this mean for you? Would you like to see more team-type competitions on the tour?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, throughout the year we don't have that many events like that. Yes, you mentioned Davis Cup. I have played quite a few ties for Bulgaria. I enjoy playing overall in that kind of competition. That's why sometimes I think I'm even a better player as into a team sport.
I think it's great for everybody. It's great for the fans to see that we are very good with one another. I think just overall it's very nice to have that atmosphere. I mean, also us, as players, we tend to be more self-centered when we go in the single competitions. But as I said, it's really all about who's playing and how can we help him to win and look at the big picture and as the whole team.
Q. You're not the first player to say it's easier to play when you have that. What specifically makes you a better player in a team situation?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't know. I mean, when you play singles, you're all alone out there. It's you, yourself, and your thoughts if you think about it.
And now you never know when you can hear the right thing at the right time. It can be Roger on the side, just, Don't use that shot, use this, or it can be Novak on the other side yelling something in Serbian that I would understand.
No, but I'm just saying everything, it comes very natural and all that. It doesn't take much for us to get pumped, especially when you have, I mean, of course such a team, but in the same time such a support.
Q. Can you talk about what you got out of the vibe, the energy, and the crowd? And specifically talk about the black courts and how much of an adjustment is that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I mean, I think the first practice was where it hit me a little bit. Wow, this court looks so different.
But, I mean, you get into the game and you stop thinking about everything, about, you know, even the background was a little bit like brighter beginning of the practices. So we tried to adjust with that.
But, yeah, I mean, I was the first match of Laver Cup, so for sure, a lot falls on me. But again, I just tried to embrace it. I even remember last year at the O2 I was the first one to get out there and play a match. So I tried to get some energy out of that and remember some good moments. And of course the crowd was pretty amazing also for that time of the day, and I really appreciate that. We move forward.
Q. I'm wondering, as a young child, did you play any team sports? Or was individual tennis your sole experience?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I would have loved to do more, but I think tennis was my only sweet escape, I guess. Yeah, but again, I love when I'm in a team environment.
Q. Are you doing things like the whole team going out to dinner?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Of course. Oh, yeah.
Q. When you're in a week like this, are you looking to sort of learn things from great champions and how they prepare? Does it maybe also lessen the aura around them that you might have at a tournament?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, you can always learn. I mean, just the environment itself, like, lift you up. I think being around these guys can only be a positive thing. That's it.
I mean, we all go to dinners. We have lunch together. We speak before the matches. I mean, you don't see that very often. To me, I really embrace that. I appreciate it. Again, you never know when you're going to hear that right sentence that might trigger something big in you.
So of course, I mean, you put your ego aside. It's hard, I know, but, I mean, when you have such a legend in the locker room and all that, and you try to, you know, constantly get better, and of course they have been very receptive and always are there for advice, which I think really adds up.
Q. We are asking fans on Twitter to send in questions about Laver Cup. What were your expectations coming into this event, and has your experience lived up to those?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, I expect us to win. That's how it is. In a way, I have been pleasantly surprised the way everything has been set up, the whole tournament, the whole days leading up to the matches. Obviously we have done a lot in the past days, like with the galas and putting on suits and taking pictures and all that.
But I love that part of it. We don't get a chance to do something so special. It all comes down in the history after that. To say that you have been part of that, I mean, for sure, it's a privilege.
Q. You talked about coming out. You really had tremendous pressure setting the tone for Team Europe, right?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I get it.
Q. You started very strong. But also, I noticed as you came on the court as a group, you started very strong with that huddle in the beginning.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah.
Q. Whose idea was that? Did you guys just spontaneously...
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think we all were very -- I think it was a team effort. I think we all felt very strong about it. As I said, each individual in the team, you know, has such a strong character. I mean, so we all, like -- and we all know why we are here. We don't want to kind of fool around and do something crazy, do something like that.
Hey, we are here to get better, simple as that. I think all that came pretty natural, and then, yeah, here we are.
Q. On a slightly different subject, there was a lot of controversy about officiating at the US Open. You have had your own moments with the officials, as well.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Oh, yeah.
Q. I'm wondering, how satisfied are you with the state of officiating? Do the tours or slams need to look at officiating and see if they need to make any adjustments or anything like this? What's your opinion?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, I think the majority of times was my fault, so I'm not going to say much about that (smiling).
I know I had my fair share of that. But, I mean, everybody's got to do their job the way it is. I'm no one to judge that. I wouldn't personally change anything. It's just things are the way they are. I'm trying to respect the rules.
Of course if I'm not happy with something, I'm going to obviously address it. Whether it's going to be on the court or off the court, I'm just going to go and say how I really feel about it. Yeah, simply move on. I don't really think about that too much, to be honest.
Q. So the things that were controversial and some of the bitterness and charges about double standards and things like this, do you feel...
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, I don't think of it, just a double standard thing. Again, he's up there. He has his job and does what is right. I mean, yeah, that's it.
I honestly couldn't see everything throughout the whole time. I just heard from here and there. I was not watching or anything.
But again, we all have our duties to do. That was his way of handling the situation. You always have two sides of the story, period.
Q. A question for the vice-captain. What's the experience been like for you? You have all these top players that you're coaching.
VICE-CAPTAIN THOMAS ENQVIST: Well, it's an unbelievable experience. First of all, my idol when I grew up was Bj√∂rn Borg and the reason I started to play tennis in the first place. I'm lucky enough to know him pretty well now.
Just to spend a week with him, it's fantastic, and then this incredible team, some of the best players to ever play the game and all this talent we have on this team. First of all, they are so nice, such a humble bunch of guys. They are helping each other. They are very dedicated to this event. They are so serious and take this so seriously.
My job is the easiest in the world and I'm the luckiest man in the world (smiling).
Q. You mentioned earlier about how you hadn't played for a bit and it's good to get some matches here. When did you find out about getting on the team, and how have your plans changed if you wouldn't play here? Would you have gone to Asia earlier?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't remember exact time I find out I was playing. I had time to digest that and I was obviously getting ready.
To be honest, I don't know how I would have structured things otherwise. Obviously I knew in advance that I'm going to play, so I made sure that I stay a little bit more in the States and just continue my preparation here. So I haven't missed much on practice or that much on traveling.
But again, also this week I don't take it lightly. It's been, leading up with preparation to here, about 10 to 12 days I was doing full-on tennis and fitness. So, I mean, I feel like progressively I'm getting in better shape.
Of course, again, this week is very important to me. Yeah, after that, I'm just going to head out to China, and this is also part of my preparation coming up. Those extra matches can really help you to just to build up a little bit more also for the upcoming events.
Q. Thomas, watching the longevity of Roger, working with this incredible group, would that be inspiring to you to think further to coaching, or would you consider coming back?
VICE-CAPTAIN THOMAS ENQVIST: Again, it's just an incredible experience. I commentate a lot of tennis on TV these days, but to actually able to be on the court with them and see them practice, as a tennis lover, it's just an incredible experience.
Again, I cannot say how nice these guys are, also, the way they respect each other and the team and the way they prepared for this event and how dedicated they are. It's very nice to see.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports