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March 11, 2019

Marcos Giron

Indian Wells, California

M. RAONIC/M. Giron

4-6, 6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. 3-0, 4-1 in the third set. Where did it go?
MARCOS GIRON: I mean, it hurts to lose, of course. I mean, I would have loved to have won the match. First time playing -- well, no, second time playing a guy top 20 in the world, and so I think it just shows his experience.

He's perennially top 20 in the world and has been a staple, being top 10 in the world.

So he really stayed disciplined. He kept fighting and kept putting balls in the court. And I made a few mistakes, but I think he showed why he's top, one of the best players.

Q. For you, this is a gain to get as far as you did?
MARCOS GIRON: Yeah. I mean, overall, looking back on it, it still hurts. Even though he's the big favorite, it still hurts to lose. Being up a break in the third, it kind of really gives me confidence and belief in my game.

But, I mean, overall this has been a fantastic week coming through quallies, having my first two top 30 wins. Well, Chardy 33 and then De Minaur. So looking back, it's still a terrific week, and especially the support that came out today for the match, it was amazing. Everybody is cheering when I'm walking out.

It kind of makes me enjoy what I do, and I appreciate it.

Q. The paycheck is close to 50 grands. How does that compare to past paychecks?
MARCOS GIRON: It's pretty nice. The other big one I got was when I got a wild card into the US Open in 2014, but this one feels better.

Q. How big was that one?
MARCOS GIRON: That was about 45 for playing because I got a wild card into both singles and doubles at the time.

And so this, I mean, compared to the last couple years I've been playing some futures, so challengers, and if you win it, you get $8,000. And so winning four matches and getting 50 grand is awesome.

But, you know, of course it's not only -- I mean, of course it is about the money, but it's not only about that. I just went out there and it was amazing to play in front of a crowd like that and in a stadium that's the second biggest in the world, I think, in here in Southern California.

Q. You picked up a challenger title in January. Did you feel like things were going in the right direction for you heading into these quallies?
MARCOS GIRON: I think this year I've won a lot of matches in challengers and there's still a lot of really good players in those and the margins are small. I've been playing good tennis. My record has been good in the challenger level.

Coming here, everybody is top 150 in the world, top 100 in the world, and so I didn't have any expectations. I just came in trusting my game and playing my game and take it to the opponent and see what happens.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your hip surgeries? I read that you had surgeries on both hips in about six months? Is that fully something behind you now and was it a struggle to get to where you are now?
MARCOS GIRON: I think it was tough. It just took a long time to be honest. Now it's been almost three years. So it took about ten months from my first hip surgery to not think about it anymore.

And fortunately I had a good surgeon and a good team around, good PT's. John and Lisa Meyer, they were really some of the best and they really took good care of me and making sure I was patient, didn't try to rush back into it.

But it was a grind. It was tough. I mean, taking so much time off, seeing a lot of peers battling and moving up in the world, playing slams, playing qualifying, qualifying for slams.

But at the time, you know, I was the volunteer assistant coach for UCLA there will Billy Martin, Grant Chen, Rickess (phonetic). And it was a good learning experience for me because it was -- growing up, I always was a player. I never had the experience of being on the other side.

And I think you kind of realize how hard-headed players are and look at it from a different view. And I got to really appreciate what the coaching side of it is, and it also made me appreciate tennis a lot more, being healthy and being able to compete.

Q. What were the specifics of the surgery? Not hip replacement?
MARCOS GIRON: No, it was not a hip replacement. It was a labral repair. So they shaved down part of the femur head and they put an anchor in to secure the labrum. I guess it's to make sure that the ball and socket are stable.

Q. And that was causing a lot of pain before that?
MARCOS GIRON: It was causing me pain, and it was really hindering my power in my legs and it was bothering me.

Q. During the past week, was there anything that you kept doing on a regular basis like eating at the same places, eating the same things, just to keep things moving along or you don't believe in those kind of things?
MARCOS GIRON: No. I mean, we were eating Eureka! every night and the same breakfast. You're kind of stuck with -- I ate pretty much the same thing every day. So I'm happy to eat something different, not the same eggs and potatoes. And so, yeah, no. I kind of stuck with the routine, stick with a good thing.

Q. Did you feel it click? Did you feel that something change or was it totally organic?
MARCOS GIRON: I've been working -- so I've been working with Christian Groh for the past year and a half, and then I also started working with Peter Lucassen over the offseason.

So kind of really looked back on what I do well but also why was I losing matches. And I think I had to change my approach a little bit. I got into my own head a lot in the years past. Even though I don't think that -- I think I still had the game, but I think I had to reassess a few things, how I -- you know, how I was handling pressure situation and why I was losing.

And so after training hard over the offseason, and I -- to be honest, I think I've won, I don't know, 19, 20 matches this year on the challenger tour. So I've kind of been building and building and winning matches, and I think it's one of those chicken or the egg. To develop confidence, you need to win matches, and to win matches you have to have confidence.

So it's hard to do, but fortunately this year I've been doing it, and I've been feeling good in matches. Just been sticking with the game plan. And it can be tough. It can be very hard. I mean, there have been times playing matches and just feel an overwhelming pressure, especially when you're playing for not that much money and you're kind of, well, I need to win. I really need to win and I want to get my ranking up higher so I can get into big tournaments.

So coming here is also a different kind of pressure because you're playing for a lot more money and against bigger players and opportunity. But fortunately I have played a lot of matches this year, which I think has given me some confidence.

Q. You climbed about 50 spots in the rankings. Does this change anything in terms of scheduling for the foreseeable future?
MARCOS GIRON: I mean, I would like to sneak into more ATP events, but I think I'm still going to have to play challengers to get the ranking up. It secures me into the Grand Slam quallies. That's nice. That's one of my big goals for the year was to make French Open quallies and go play Wimbledon quallies, something I haven't done in the past. I played juniors there.

So that was one of my goals and another one was to hopefully be top 125 in the world by the end of the year. So it puts me closer, but I still need to go back and go back to the basics. I will try to play more ATP events when it's available, but with the ranking at 170 it doesn't get me necessarily into all of them.

Q. How is UCLA a good launching point for a pro career?
MARCOS GIRON: Yeah, the Bruin family is always a great one. When I went to school there was so many terrific players on our team. It was, I mean, my last year we had an amazing team. It was Clay Thompson, myself. Mackie McDonald was playing three, and he's top 100 in the world. Our number six guy was Carusall (phonetic) who was hurt for a little bit, but he was about 350 in the world. And also the girl's team. They had Jenn Brady and Robin Anderson and multiple others that were very good players.

And so at the school I think it's just very competitive. All the players there were very good and very competitive and kept pushing each other. And plus with the coaching staff being really understanding, Billy was a top 30 in the world player himself. So I think he really understands how to brew success.

Q. You were talking about your head. Let's get into your head a little bit. He breaks back, he gets the second set and everybody is sitting there thinking, okay, here he comes. You may be thinking that too but then you get up a break in the third set. Where is your head now?
MARCOS GIRON: Well, for sure part of me is like, Oh, well. Okay. I need to hold three more times. But then also I just tried to stick to, Okay, what patterns are working? What can I do here, and what do I need to do? I tried to do that.

I didn't execute necessarily as well as I would have liked. But I think that's also a big difference from this year compared to years past, trying to be more resilient, not letting things get to me, losing a set, understanding that you still need to win two sets to win here. And trying to not let the negatives affect me as much moving forward and trying to find a way to win.

Q. There was a moment at the end it kind of seemed like you were having a moment with the crowd cheering, looking around waving. What was that like just to kind of soak that in one last time?
MARCOS GIRON: That was amazing. It was one of those that I -- because I was upset. I was up a break in the third. And so being competitive, I would have loved to have won.

But then I also realize this is not something that I've experienced really. And so I just on the way out I just wanted to make sure that I really got to see and take it in before I left.

And it was really cool to be able to see that. Being on second biggest stadium in the world here in Southern California in Indian Wells, it was amazing. I remember eight, nine years ago sitting in the top rafters seeing Rafa and Federer play. So being out on center court and looking from the other side was really cool.

Q. After playing a lot of challengers, what's it like for you sharing with the top players the locker room and the environment together? What did you learn from them?
MARCOS GIRON: The professionalism, I think. I go back to the margins are so small and I feel like those top guys, they just do everything right. They're so professional. They leave no stone unturned. They're so prepared going into each match. They're warmed up, they're cooling down. They're doing everything they possibly can to put themselves in a winning position.

I think that's where a lot of differences are between this level and the lower levels.

Q. Miami next for you?
MARCOS GIRON: I don't know. I need a wild card and so I don't know. It's totally not up to me. And I would love to play of course, but I don't know. Hopefully. Hopefully, yeah.

Q. Can I just clarify? I read that it was two hip surgeries. Was it just one or...
MARCOS GIRON: No. It was both hips, six weeks apart. One on Christmas. Yeah, six weeks apart. One in Christmas and one in February, first week of February.

A month of no weightbearing. So it was crutches for a month and two weeks of walking, and then onto the other one. And so it was kind of -- that was a hard part because I was like a month and a half in and, you know, I'm feeling, you know, I'm doing everything I can. I'm moving forward, and then it's right back to where you start and that was probably the tough part.

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