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February 14, 2021

Grigor Dimitrov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference


6-4, 6-4, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Back in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. What were you most pleased about in today's win?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think just the fact that I was able to keep a consistency throughout the whole match was -- I think that was the key. I think it was very strange the first couple of games, but me and Dominic have known each other a long time, practiced a lot against each other. We know our game very well, so I think we were both aware of how we wanted to play that match.

Q. You've beaten him before. You've beaten a lot of big names. But were you still surprised at the score line, where it ended?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think a little bit, just the third set to be honest. But I think in all the other sets, like I felt like I really stayed in the match. I was playing well. I mean, he was up a break on both sets if you think about it. It was 3-1, 40-15 in the first set. I could have easily slipped that set, and then next thing you know, hypothetical, one set all, and you just never know what's going to happen.

But the way that I came through, and especially in that first set, also being able to stay like really focused and really dedicated to the game that I wanted to apply, it was something that I think I did very well today, and clearly maybe he was struggling a little bit in the third set or not, but I think I did all the necessary to keep a steady play.

Q. You're going to go from playing the No. 3 player in the world, the US Open champion, to a qualifier who I think is making his Grand Slam singles debut. How do you adjust -- what do you go through in your head in order to make that adjustment? And does it play with your mind at all in terms of you know this guy across the court and what he's accomplished today, and now you have this completely different opponent?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: It doesn't matter. I mean, this is -- I mean, that's a pivotal moment I would say. Like all sort of the top players if you think about it, it takes time for everyone to get to somewhere, but the best part is that you treat every player the same way, and I will treat this match with no difference. I will still go through my routines. I'm still going to do my work. It's just honestly another match. I'm not going to think of what the guy has done, what he has accomplished or what is going on.

Clearly in order for him to be here, he's done something right, and he's playing great tennis right now. Of course he's a dangerous player. You're entering deep into the second week, it's a quarterfinal match of a Grand Slam. You don't take any of that lightly, and I think it should never affect anything coming in your head to that extent, just focus on your side of the net, focus on your game plan, control what you can on your end and then progress through.

Q. Can you talk about your coach Dante Bottini. You talked about him as a guy who shares kind of a famous philosophy or way to think. Can you talk a little bit about him more, what kind of a coach he is? Is he good at analyzing your opponent or does he give you some technical advice?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think it's a combination. I think it's a combination between actually me and him a lot more than just focusing on one thing. Obviously it's not -- I think it's also not easy to be a coach, and I think it's very important for a coach and a player to be aligned, to share similar thoughts, similar feeling. When you get out there on the court and even on the practice court, I think it's just very important.

So far we've managed to do things very basic, and we're still getting to know each other. We haven't spent that much time together. But the little time we had, we've really tried to exploit everything that we think we need right now, and I think that's why things are settling in a little bit different, of course analyzing the match, practice, and a practice match is very important.

We go through all these routines that when you put them all together, it creates a good balance.

Q. I'm just curious from a player perspective at the midway point of the tournament, how do you feel like Craig Tiley and his team have managed doing this whole thing during a pandemic, and has communication been good with the players?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think so far everything has been great if you think about it. We have to be very thankful for being able to play a tournament in the middle of a pandemic and to pull that through in such a tough and delicate moment of where we're at right now. I think it's amazing.

It's just very basic. We all have choices. You can either choose to play and go through whatever you have to go through, or whether you stay home and practice and that's it. I think any other aspect of things right now, it doesn't really matter. We all know what is going on in the world. We all know what is going on in every single country. It's tough. It's very uncomfortable. It makes life difficult for so many, not only for us as athletes but people around the world.

For us to be able to play, to perform, and for me it also means a lot. The people on TV can watch us and enjoy that part. Very thankful for all the people here in Melbourne. I mean, the government has done a great job.

Everyone is trying to play their part to the max end. Yeah, what else happens, we don't know. We've just got to stay in the moment, enjoy every single possibility that we get out here and see how things develop.

Q. After the game with Dominic Thiem you wrote your hometown, Haskovo. We know you helped your local hospital during the early part of the pandemic with buying some respirator machines. You're a good man; is being a good human being far more important than being a great champion on the tennis court?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: That goes without saying. I've always believed in very different things, and for sure my mom has always said to me, I always want you to be a good person before a great champion. I've focused on that since I was a kid.

It's just that. Tennis is just a temporarily -- it's not going to be our life forever. We're living our dream right now. Whatever I can do and help in different situations, different circumstances, of course I'll help. I mean, nothing is ever that good and nothing is ever that bad. I think the moment you find that balance, I think the better you can live at peace with yourself.

I think in those tough times, this is very important, and you realize a lot more of your friends, family, and the significance of even your own self. You get to know yourself better. I like to say that from different aspects in life right now, I think I keep on learning, and probably it helps me.

Q. That fifth game in the first set, I believe you actually saved seven game points so he really had a lot of opportunities to break that set open. You had a broken string, as well. Can you maybe talk about the importance of getting through that game and being able to use kind of staying in the moment later on in the match when you had a couple tougher games in the second set?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I felt that I'm going to get a chance at some point again. I even thought that the first two break points, he played an outstanding two points. I felt like I couldn't have done anything else any better, and the problem is in matches like that, sometimes it can be -- you can get too many opportunities, but you might not use even one. It could have happened, but I stayed, I think, very calm, and I was really focusing on every point, especially when he was 3-1 up and like 40-15. I said, I'm going to play every point. I knew physically I was feeling well. I could have chased a lot of balls down. I favored also some of my shots at the right time, and like it came very nicely. Yeah, saving that game I think was big.

But then all I had to do at some point was honestly stay in the match, plus the shadow was coming a little bit through half of the court, so that's also a little bit unpleasant, the sun was in your eyes. There's so many other little details that could have played a different role, but all I did was managed to stay on the right path.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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