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May 29, 2019

Grigor Dimitrov

Paris, France


6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's been a long time coming, I guess, to get a win like that for you. Look back to Monte-Carlo last year, really was one of your biggest wins against one of the top seeds. How did it feel to get that win and move on?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Every win that I have now, I appreciate it. I don't really think of who I'm playing against. I just want to have those wins.

I mean, I have pretty much played against everybody out there. It was a very, very important match to me, without a doubt, though.

Clearly I have struggled the past two, three months. The shoulder hasn't been great. So a lot of moving parts. A lot of changes overall.

Yeah, to get a bit of a fresh breeze, so to speak, it's very nice and humbling in the same time.

Yeah, I feel great. I feel great, and I'm very, so to speak, focused and excited for what's ahead.

Q. A question about the role of Andre Agassi. How often do you see him? How does your collaboration, like, work in everyday life or during the tournaments?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: For right now, we don't really think so much about the weeks. We try to schedule time when we can. In the same time, I think right now he's a huge part obviously of the team. We are in daily contact. We discuss a lot about tennis and talk about tennis, talk about, I mean, everything that has to do with tennis. That's one hell of a start already. I feel very fortunate to have him in my corner, and talk about, yeah, everything that I can with him.

I think in the near future we're going to kind of establish some weeks and try to figure how we can have a better schedule overall so we can try to spend some more time together.

Clearly in the upcoming months, after Europe, I'll be in the States. I'm sure we will be seeing a lot of each other out there. But for now, we just try to make the most out of every time we are together and try to fit each other in our schedules, of course.

Q. Marin now said that it was a very quality match, both sides. Do you think it can be a turning point for your season, this match? It can present a turning point for positive in your season?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, absolutely. You can look at it from all the positive angles right now.

I think there is a lot for me to take out of this match and a lot to look forward that in a way that I feel I can improve and I can sort of get better at I think for the upcoming months.

I think this is the important part for me now. It was definitely one of the greatest matches I have played for a long time. A lot of credit to Marin. I have so much respect to Marin. He's a tremendous fighter, never gives up.

I think on both ends today we raised our game a little bit, sort of with each game that we played. Almost towards the end of the match, we served almost impeccable, to be honest.

So that was something that already I take a lot of confidence in, and hopefully I can reproduce it for the match ahead. And, yeah, I think I'm going to definitely have a look at that match tomorrow. I'm really curious to see a couple of things and, yeah, hopefully keep same way. Hopefully that was a turning point.

Q. While you're looking at that match, you were down two sets, but your numbers were actually better than his, points won, first-serve percentage, percentage of errors. You had that long third game in the fourth set where it just went back and forth. I think it was five or six deuces. Was there any point in that you're thinking, I'm down two sets, here we go again, going to be tough to break through or did you feel there were opportunities you were getting and you would be able to get this done?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, best of five, on clay, you can be down by two sets and a break and something can just happen. I mean, this is the nature of also not only the sport but I think in that particular slam, especially on the clay, I have always felt that every time I competed on clay, you are always going to get, like, a little chance.

I felt early on in the match I had way too many opportunities. I knew my numbers were bad. I knew I was playing sort of a better tennis, but I could never get those break points and, I mean, I had to stay in the match. That was that, for me.

I had to be super composed, especially that -- I would say that tiebreak for me in the fourth was sort of the pivotal point. That point, 4-1, I don't know why it stuck in my head. That was something that I kind of -- I looked at it as a completely, as a big opportunity.

And then I think beginning of the fifth, with that early break, I was, like, well, I have enough juice in my legs to kind of push him every time that I can. I knew my shoulder was dipping quite a little bit.

That was my only concern, but I knew, leg-wise, I thought I could move him around. I put a little bit of pressure when I had to. And, yeah, I just held there with him, and ultimately he kind of obviously broke down on his serve, and he double-faulted on a break point.

All those little moments I was able to get those in the fifth set, and I think that was where, you know, I fed off and I kind of, you know, finished the match better.

Q. I have a question about the fifth set. He double-faulted and gave you the break, and then if I remember correctly, then you double-faulted and gave him the break to fifth, 5-3. What was going on in your mind when you were entering this game at 5-3 and --
GRIGOR DIMITROV: 5-2, you mean? I was serving at 5-2.

Q. Yeah, you were serving at 5-2, he gave you the break, and then I think you lost the game --
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I gave him the break.

Q. You gave him the break.

Q. What was going on in your mind when you were entering the game at 5-3, Cilic serving?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Not much, to be honest, not much. I know I was pretty solid on the return just because the first time I broke him in the fifth set was where I put great returns in off his first serve, especially on the backhand end.

So I think I felt super unfortunate when I had those first match points. I mean, just my shoulder was not holding me up well, and I had to go for either big serve or super slow serve. I felt I couldn't just put a mid pace and get into a rally.

So that was where the difference came. Obviously he used that opportunity. I was not able to hit over my backhand at all. I was keeping a slice, and he was completely murdering me with his forehand outside in or inside out.

In a way, I said, You know what? If I throw this game away, I still feel I have a decent chance at 5-3. That's what happened. Again, four great returns. Obviously the match point at 30-40. I said, You know what? I was pacing my shoulder pretty well. I was timing where I could hit the ball and when not. Then ultimately, it's when I'm on second serve, I had to step back and I had pretty much everything I had in my shoulder left to hit that deep backhand. It was there. It happened to be a really good shot. I knew from then on he's going to be in trouble.

The ball, from the way I saw it, it was super bouncy. He could only play cross. I was kind of already running around to hit a forehand and then he missed it. That was sort of the mindset on my point of view how I got into that game at 5-3.

Q. You used your dropshot perfectly today on many occasions. Is it something that you have done in the past against Marin, knowing the way he moves? Or is something that you realize that today he was a bit slow in reacting?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, we never played on clay court, I don't think we have. So on hard court it's a bit tougher to do those kind of shots.

I mean, I actually thought early on he was moving really good, especially around his backhand side. I had to keep him uncomfortable. I had to get a little more creative. I know I can use my slice the way I want to use it, and I know I can use my dropshots.

To bring, I think, a player up to the net obviously is never easy and not everybody feels comfortable up there. I had to test him absolutely early on. I think I overdid it at some point with dropshots, but it served me actually good.

Some of the actually important points, I mean, when I had break points and games that I broke was when I did a couple of dropshots in the game. I knew I could, for sure, count on that. Unfortunately towards the end of the match the temperature was dropping a little bit more so that the court was becoming heavier and I wasn't as crafty as I wanted to, and as I say, that's why he was moving a bit better and hitting that forehand.

But, yeah, I had to use my creativity not to give him a set pattern.

Q. You talked about your shoulder. I saw you wincing towards the end. Are you concerned? You played two five-setters going into the third round. Full day off? Do you think you should be good?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, I mean, the one thing I always count on a lot is my legs. This is where I'm going to start. They feel absolutely great. I'm sure I'm going to be ready to kind of recover and be ready for it.

Yeah, I mean, the shoulder is always a little bit of a concern, if you think about it. I mean, I wake up every day hoping I'm not going to have any pain. I mean, that was already one win today when I woke up and I felt it was a little bit better. It also depends how many hours I'm going to stay out on the court.

And today it was definitely better. Started hurting a little bit later. This thing, I cannot time. I can just sort of go off a bit and try and manage it also a little bit during the match. If I can hit, I hit. If not, then I need to pace myself in the shoulder, absolutely. That's why I need to find -- that's the best part I think about the sport. You need to find a way.

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