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January 18, 2022

Grigor Dimitrov

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

G. DIMITROV/J. Lehecka

6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Great start to your Australian Open campaign; take me through your match. You must be happy with the result.

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It was a very tough first match. I think probably one of the toughest conditions I've played out here. I mean, it's always tricky also to play against an opponent you've never played. Young kid, up-and-comer, played already three matches, a lot of confidence, nothing to lose. It was I would say a very, very tricky first match, but I'm happy that everything kind of ended up on a good note today.

Q. I'm curious at this point in your career when you're having a preseason training and entering a new season, what's the mindset like? What motivates you and what kind of goals do you put for yourself at this point?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I hear that question a lot now from friends, especially throughout the off-season.

I don't know, for me, I always try to find something new to do, something that I really enjoy in the off-season. It doesn't necessarily have to be with tennis, but I love going to the gym; I love climbing mountains; I love doing biking, all those kind of things. That's like a lifestyle to me. So that doesn't really, I think, bother me.

I think the toughest part is when you start playing a little bit more tennis is when the nerves start kicking in and the excitement, just like all those things, when they start kicking in, then I feel like it's -- then it becomes a little bit tougher.

I don't know, I try also to remind myself why I started in the first place. I think that's one of the most basic questions, and of course I feel like there's quite a bit more left in me, and I don't feel like that I'm in the end or anything like that. But I just try to take one day at a time.

I think with each year I get a very different appreciation for the game, and I think that's what gives me a lot of -- that's what helps me to set up some goals.

Q. Does it help that the guys when you joined the tour and were kind of chasing like Rafa and Novak and these guys, does it help that they're still around, as well?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I guess so. But as I said, all these guys, they're in a league of their own at the moment. That's just how it is. Everybody knows that. Everybody sees that. It's tough to compare them to anything at the moment. I think that's why I really try to focus on my side of things, because I would say around my generation there's not that many, many players left, so I would try to say it's nice to see some of those guys being around more so than the others.

I feel like every generation helps the other generations, so to speak, and it helps you to try to stay with them, to keep you up to date, to try to improve your game and whatever else needs to be done.

Yeah, I take a lot of positives from everyone.

Q. I was looking at your record at the Slams, and the number of matches you've won in Australia - I don't know if you know that - is like more than combined of the French and Wimbledon, the ones that you've won there.

GRIGOR DIMITROV: No way. That's cool. That's good stuff to know.

Q. I'm curious, why? Why do you do so much better --

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't know, now you make me think.

I don't know, I felt like Wimbledon in particular -- I'm going to put French Open on there last because I feel like I've had such a different - how can I say - experience out there throughout the years. I can almost remember the matches at the French Open that I've lost that they were such tough matches that I lost, like four sets, five sets and tough first rounds.

At Wimbledon it was always that extra match that I needed to be completely honest with you. It was always that little hurdle that was kind of there.

Too late to change that, of course, but that's an interesting stat I didn't know. I guess when you start the year, Australia, something with Australia, I don't know, but I really enjoy it. I really enjoy it out here, and I'm always trying to do 100 percent of myself when I'm out here. So with the other tournaments, but I guess I'm finding my settings better here.

Q. Obviously you said you like to focus on yourself, but I'm curious when Novak who won this tournament nine times is not in the draw anymore, is there a sense of like an extra opportunity for the rest of you guys, especially that this is a tournament where you've played semis before and you've come close before?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: That's a great record, nine times. That's a lot of wins.

I don't know. Honestly, from what I can say, and even what I see in the locker room, everybody is really focused on their own end. Everybody is playing good at the moment.

Even today, I played a guy that is playing great tennis I would say at the moment, so every match is very competitive. We can't be like, oh, this player is not in the draw or that player is not in the draw. Of course it makes some sort of a difference, yes, no doubt about it, but at the same time you still need to beat seven players in order to win it.

Whether you're going to have him earlier, later, it doesn't really matter; you still have to go through that. It's a lot of work. Either-or I'm saying.

Q. I wanted to ask you about a guy who's on court out there right now, Andy Murray. A few years ago we all saw Andy there in Australia and basically the world said goodbye to him. Now here he is back here playing. I'm just wondering, are you kind of surprised that he's back out there? Did you think at the time like most people seemed to that that was going to be --

GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't know, I think maybe he wasn't ready to say goodbye to everybody. I knew that there was going to be like a big portion of him would like to try everything possible to come back. He's definitely not the guy that would just give up and be like, no, I'm done.

I think it's extraordinary what he was able to do after that. I saw him moving even on the court. Yes, it's clearly not the same, but it's staggering. Honestly it's amazing for me to see, and I think for everybody, not just for me.

In a way you put yourself out there every single day and through the procedures you have to go through with the stretching and the rehabs and whatever else he needs to do, so he needs to spend probably three, four hours throughout every day just to take care of that, and still to have a family and kids and everything, and to be able to balance that act, I think it's pretty amazing.

I can kind of understand also his point of view, like he wants to end up on his own terms. So does every player.

Yeah, I think for the moment, like I think everybody can just admire what he's been able to do.

Q. I know you're close with Venus and Serena, and I'm curious did you watch "King Richard," and if you did, what did you think of it?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: You know, I saw quite a bit of it before, like way before. I want to watch it in the -- I wanted to watch it actually with them actually. But we'll get the chance I think very soon hopefully when I head out to the States.

From what I've seen, there's just a lot of -- I think a lot of cool scenes, and I know obviously quite a few stories behind. It's pretty amazing.

I've always admired when somebody does something like this, but I think also the timing is just perfect to do it, in a way how the whole idea came about and why they did it and so on.

I wanted to come to the premier actually. I couldn't make it unfortunately. But what all of them have been able to do, including her other sisters, I think the whole family is honestly pretty amazing. I for one would love to do something like that one day, whether it's a documentary or a movie or whatever it is, but I would be very happy to try to do something similar.

Q. Are you going to take part in the Drive to Survive type tennis thing that they're doing with Netflix?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I've heard about it. I'm going to get some more information soon and we'll discuss and see how it goes. It's a great idea I would say. It would be interesting, I think, on so many levels.

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