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February 16, 2021

Grigor Dimitrov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

A. KARATSEV/G. Dimitrov

2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed to be struggling a little bit physically. Could you take us through what happened?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Listen, there's no point to hide anything or whatever, I think. I just got a back spasm yesterday at some point, and that was it. We couldn't fix it on time. It happened, I think, early in the match. It kept on progressing, and it was unstoppable. But that's enough about me. It's his day.

Just taking it in and trying to move on.

Q. Was there something -- you said it started yesterday?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, it started yesterday out of the blue.

Q. Was it during practice or anything?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, it was just regular movement. That's sport. What can you -- I mean, just super unlucky. There's not much else I can say, really. I wish I could give you more information. I felt great over all the past days. I felt I was on a good path. We've done great work. I was very positive and upbeat for whatever, whoever I had to play, and circumstances, sport. That's it. Today was just -- I couldn't put my socks on before the match, so I knew it was going to be a tough moment for me. I tried, but it was not good enough.

Yeah, but he absolutely deserved to win.

Q. Given that you could barely put your socks on before the match, what made you get out there and give it a try?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Adrenaline, Grand Slam. You know, it's been a while that I've been to a quarterfinals, so I really liked my chances. As I said before, I felt great. I didn't see any of that coming. It was like one of the first times that I actually felt that well at a slam. I haven't lost a set, moving well, serving well. I felt like finally all the components were kind of coming through without doing any extra effort.

I actually don't know what else to say. It sucks. Again, it's sport. Just you never know. That's why you have to keep on trying to the end.

You know, I give respect to the guy, as well. He saw me struggling and he kept on doing what he had to do. That's it.

Q. Have you ever had this before in your career? Is it a recurring thing that occasionally pops up?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I've had spasms in the back but never happened during a match. I've had times that I could take a couple of days off, but today I couldn't say, hey, can we play tomorrow. I'm almost sure that it's not like a massive injury or anything like that, but it just requires a lot of specific work and staying away from the court for a little bit.

So yeah, it's just -- I can't even explain how, why. But it's definitely one of the moments of my career that is just something like that never happened.

Q. Remember when Tiger Woods had back spasms, he said it was harder to play than it even was on a broken leg because with spasms you never know when they're going to strike. Can you take us through what that's like when you're making a serving motion or a ground stroke and you don't know?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's funny you say that, actually. I thought of that this morning.

Well, I mean, I've played with a cracked toe and other things, but having a back spasm, everything goes through that part of the body, all rotation, reactions. I love moving around the court, but when I'm not capable to use my motricity, my speed, my legs, my reaction, just everything becomes very insignificant. Whether you serve or hit a forehand or whatever, it's just electricity kind of goes through your body.

But again, I just want to emphasize on his day. That was his day today. Yes, I struggled; that's fine. I'm admitting it, I'm taking it in. But please, give the credit for him today.

Q. You're obviously talking about Karatsev. What did you make of his game and how surprising is it to see a qualifier reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's great to see. I think it's great to see. Surprised, I'm not. I'm never surprised when I see things like that in moments like this. He needs to take it in. He needs to appreciate it. Honestly, it is what it is. He's a great player. To be here, clearly you've done something right. You've put in the work, you've gone through the quallies, went through tough and good matches, built up confidence. There's so many positives, so why not for him to go further?

Q. Can you describe why you chose to wait until the end of that set to call for a trainer?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I think, again, it was just adrenaline. I thought I could push it through. But as I said, at the end of the first set, it just completely -- my level completely dropped, I felt, even in important moments in the second set, like early on. He served good, made me play a lot, so that added extra stress to the body.

I just thought to myself, you know, I will keep on trying and hope things would get better because I've taken a lot of things before the match to make sure that I'm somehow, somewhere. But honestly, it's irrelevant at the end of the day.

Q. You kind of answered my question in your previous answer, but I was wondering is there a specific reason why you came back on the court and persevered after taking that medical time-out?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't like quitting. I don't like quitting, and yeah, I could have been -- I'm definitely causing more harm on myself and I think on my team, but you get stubborn. You're a competitor. That's what it is. I don't know, I'm admitting my flaw. What do you want me to say? It's just, when you're on the court sometimes you don't think straight, and in that particular moment today, I just didn't want to give up. I couldn't give up. Plus, that's just how I am.

Q. We can see how painful this moment is for you, but as you said, you were looking so good through the tournament, winning in straight sets. Do you think you will be able to kind of take positives from this and give you confidence going into future Grand Slams?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I'm happy actually you asked me that. Yeah, I mean, as I said, it's been a long time that I haven't been able to put myself in such a position. I feel like I have a great team around me now, good first weeks with the coach. I need to be very subjective and kind of just see what I've done right and what I've done wrong. Clearly it's not an easy time for everyone, and preparing for a tournament can cause a little bit more, a lot of stress, preparation and so on.

I'm just going to take the positives out of this situation. Again, what just happened happened. I cannot take it back. I need to swallow it. But at the same time I'm not just going to keep my head down and be like, oh, why did it happen now or how did it happen. Today was just bad luck. That's what it is. In that particular situation someone had to win, and that was his day.

Clearly I'm frustrated, but I don't need to dwell on the situation. All I can do is draw the positives out of it and get some days off and see what the next move is going to be and get back on the horse again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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