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December 28, 2022

Grigor Dimitrov

Viktoriya Tomova

Dimitar Kuzmanov

Isabella Shinikova

Adrian Andreev

Gergana Topalova

Alexander Lazarov

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Team Bulgaria

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to Perth. Could you just please introduce your team and tell us about your preparation now.

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: Well, I think we are here, we're happy, we're excited to start. (Video lost.) It's a very nice thing.

So we will start.

ISABELLA SHINIKOVA: I'm really happy to be here and to represent my country, Bulgaria.

(Video lost.)

DIMITAR KUZMANOV: It's a pleasure for us to be here and represent our country and to be united as a team here.

ADRIAN ANDREEV: Hi. My name is Adrian Andreev, and I'm very excited.

GERGANA TOPALOVA: Hello. I'm Gergana Topalova. I'm really happy to be here. I can't wait until we start tomorrow, and wish all the best of luck to everyone.

ALEXANDER LAZAROV: I'm Alex Lazarov, and very happy to be here again, like ATP Cup a few years ago. Nice memories and hopefully we create some more this time.


Q. Isabella, for you, how do you feel about kicking off the event tomorrow?

ISABELLA SHINIKOVA: I'm really excited. I'm really happy to be here. I prepare really well. Give all my heart. (Video lost.)

Q. It's going to be a fairly big crowd in tomorrow morning's session playing when you play Despina. Do you feel excited for that atmosphere?

ISABELLA SHINIKOVA: Yes, I'm so excited to be there and to see a lot of people who going to support everyone and to see these amazing matches.

Q. Have you every been to Perth before?

ISABELLA SHINIKOVA: No, it's my first time.

Q. How are you finding it?


Q. Grigor, for yourself?

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: Well, I have to be ready. Still need to work on things. (Video lost.)

I think it's very good for me. I think physically and mentally I think I'm in a good spot.

The team is great, so I think we are all very excited to just get it going.

Q. I think this is the first time you have been team captain. Second? How are you enjoying the responsibility this time? What's your style of captaincy?

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: It's tough to get my footing, but things are very straightforward in the sense that, I mean, we all know what we need to do. We all know how to deal with practice and all that.

I think it also makes it easier when each one of us know what's working, what's not, to prepare for the matches. Obviously that was one of the (Video lost).

I think this is the one thing we are all looking forward to. Yeah, hopefully we will be able to really show the most, you know, of our game and bring some excitement as well to the crowd, and just to really finish up sort of this year on a good note and start 2023.

Q. In your opinion as captain, what are your team's strengths?

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: I think each one -- actually, I just spoke about it. I think each one has their own characteristic in the sense of what they can bring to the table. It can be I think very interesting, because after a couple of days of matches, it might come down to something that we didn't really expect. I think each one of them can bring something to the table on and off the court.

That's why it's a team. Each one of them can contribute to their best for the player that plays for the team or whatever needs to be done.

I don't know. Let the fun begin. I think that's such a great experience for all of us.

Q. Viktoriya, you had the best year of your career last year, broke the top 100. What do you think are some of the things you've most improved about your game?

VIKTORIYA TOMOVA: Well, I think I have improved my game, because I started working at Good to Great Academy and I started working there with Mikael Tillstrom. I improved some small things about my game, and, yeah, I had my best year so far.

But I'm really looking forward to next season and hopefully I can do even better.

Q. You played Maria Sakkari this week. Do you remember the ITF match from several years ago? Do you remember that match and draw confidence from it?

VIKTORIYA TOMOVA: Yeah, it was long time ago. This year I think we played at Wimbledon. I think I had my chances. Was a good match, I think. I'm looking forward to playing her again, because it's always nice to play top-10 players, top-20 players. It's great to have this opportunity. Yeah, I'm just looking forward to it.

Q. I just wondered if I could ask a couple of people their view on how important having this big mixed event to start the season is and mainly the emphasis on bringing the two tours together. Grigor, if you could start.

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: Sure. I think it's great that we can I think interact. I think it's also important for the game and important I think for the crowd, for the fans, and, I mean, all the spectators around the world to see that.

Of course it's very different I think for everyone, and I think it takes some days to readjust on that end, but I think it also is a nice way to ease into the new year into like that new sort of event for everybody and just not even to just touch base but to be part of each other's routines is very different. I think you can all learn from each other in many different ways.

It's not only about the sport itself, and that's why we always emphasize, that's why it's called United Cup, right, it's the unity that we are having. I think it's a great step up for all of us. It's certainly a very different format. Let's see how it goes, but I think everyone is looking with a great excitement, and of course last but not least, everyone wants to enjoy.

Q. Maybe Viktoriya I could ask you, because tennis for most of the year is a very individual sport. In a lot of ways I wondered how you enjoyed the team dynamic in weeks like this.

VIKTORIYA TOMOVA: Yeah, I think it's quite interesting. As you said, every week we play alone for ourselves, and this week is very important. Every match can, as Grigor said, can contribute to the team. Yeah, it's just quite interesting format, as Hopman Cup was quite a few years ago.

Yeah, I think it's quite nice.

Q. Grigor, you have been to Perth before certainly. Not for a little while now. Have you and the team had a chance to get around Perth and see a little bit of Western Australia? The weather has been nice for you the last few days.

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: Went to the beach yesterday. So windy, guys, no? We haven't had too much time to do things outside the court. But yesterday, as I said, we went to the beach, had some activity there. It was great to just visit a little bit. Everything is pretty much closed around the holidays, unfortunately.

We tried to gather up for New Year's Eve and tried to enjoy a few hours outside of the sport. I have been here, yeah, 10 years ago, something like that. It's great. I have seen a bit of the city, but I haven't had the chance to explore more. Hopefully we get some more time and we can go around.

Q. I guess your match with Stefanos to open up for you, is that kind of one of the big advantages of a tournament like this, you don't have to play through a draw to meet those top-ranked opponents? You get a high-quality opponent straightaway to kick-start your summer.

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: It's great, as I said, those are the matches I constantly want to play. That's the difference between a normal tournament and a format like that. I think here from the get-go you need to kind of go after it and, you know, there is nothing to sort of hold you back.

So there is no excuses I think on each end. I mean, that's also what I'm practicing for and what I'm trying to work on on myself. Especially now where I'm at in my career, there are so many different things that I have been trying to do and adjust the past, I would say the past years, especially to, you know, to work on that, on my game, and of course last but not least, is the new generation of players that are coming through.

You know, they are bigger, stronger, and all that. I need to find a different way to get around them, and I think that's just another great test for me.

Q. For us here in Perth it's kind of a showcase match to start off with. Are you expecting maybe a few fireworks and a bit of entertainment on the court for the fans out there?

CAPTAIN DIMITROV: I sure hope so. I sure hope we can bring a lot to the sport. I'm here to win with the team. As we all know and agree, this is not a single competition here. We are here as a team, and that's I think the ultimate goal is for the team to win. Whoever wins, it doesn't matter, we need to win.

Of course we, as I said, we need to rely on each other and of course whoever is out there on the court needs to leave their heart out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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