Promising talent Grigor Dimitrov earned one his best career wins on Saturday upending rival Milos Raonic in four sets to make his first career Grand Slam fourth round at the Australian Open.
The 22-year-old Dimitrov, who also dates Maria Sharapova on the side, has been talked about for a while as one of the next new stars and now finally the Bulgarian is fulfilling the promise. And with lightly-regarded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut next, the story is far from over this week.
Here’s Grigor’s press after the win over Milos:
Q. Of all the matches you have played, how does that rank in terms of satisfaction?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I’m definitely satisfied that I have gone through that match. It’s for me just another win. I think that’s not going to the last time that I play against Milos.
I think it’s a great steppingstone for me to get into that second week that I keep talking about. But I have practiced a lot. I have done a lot of homework. So, to me, in a way it’s a bit expected.
So I feel really good coming into the second week, and, you know, I just take one match at a time.
Q. How important was patience today?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: A lot. A lot. It wasn’t easy conditions. It was a bit windy, and a bit swirly and all that. But, I mean, definitely not easy.
Milos is one of the biggest servers out there, and I just have to have a lot of patience and use every momentum I had in the match.
You know, there was some tight rallies here and there, but I guess that’s in the game. At the same time, I was really happy to play on that court. It was full house, and that brought an extra good feeling in the end.
Q. Can you point to one or two things that Roger you think has really helped you out with since you guys started working together?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think there are just a few things before matches here and there, just little tips that actually can help you go through a certain player in a certain way.
But, I mean, again, you know, we have been together for like four months already. We know each other pretty good. But, you know, still a lot to come, but, you know, in a way we try to go one day at a time.
I think the one thing that is really positive is that with him is every day 100%. There is never more, never less.
So, you know, once you start having a routine like this, everything gets into place.
Q. There are so many big expectations on you. How do you get along with all these expectations?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, they play in my head sometimes. Yeah, it’s not easy, obviously. Of course everyone would talk and everyone would say, you know, whatever. Not that I care, but the one thing is that I know what I believe in and I know what I’m doing.
I think the biggest expectation always comes from me. There is no one else that can put the expectation that I can put on me, so that’s why sometimes it’s tough to have, you know, that pressure on your shoulder.
Then next thing you know, you’ve just got to go out and compete 100%. Of course it’s not easy, but that’s the greatest thing not only in life, but in sport. There’s always, you know, something that you can work on, and that’s one of the things.
Q. How hard did he push you in the off season, Roger? You trained in LA and Vegas, right?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah.
Q. Did he push you harder than any other coach?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: They weren’t easy days, that’s for sure. You know, we had actually a block of those two weeks that I didn’t have one day off, so, you know, it’s kind of rough. But, you know, I was just like obeying orders (smiling).
I couldn’t reconsider or say anything. Whatever he says, I was out there and doing it. But, you know, I enjoy working and I’m actually happy to work. You know, he’s a great bloke, and that’s a great feeling to have.
Yeah, you know, it’s a good relation.
Q. Roger said your nickname Baby Fed should be laid off. Is it ever used by other players or the media or no one calls you that anymore?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, but you just did.
Q. I just want to know if it’s over, this chapter?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Oh, I guess. I mean, what can I say? We have debated that for quite some time and we have said it loud and clear that my name is Grigor.
I think I’m proving that every day and every match that I’m winning out here in the slams, so I think that page is definitely in the past now.
Q. You were more consistent the whole match on your serve. He was a bit up and down; you broke him; you were amazingly consistent winning your serve. How do you think you did that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: There were a few things I had to focus on the match today. That was the most important thing, was definitely serve/return, and of course use every little opportunity I had on the court.
It’s not easy playing against Milos. You never know what’s going to come on the other side. He’s definitely one of the greatest servers out there. It’s always a bit unpredictable.
But on my side, what I think I did good was that I hang really tough in the match. I didn’t let him take control of the rallies. You know, when I had chance to step in, I did.
I’m sure that him not getting too many chances on my second serve, that made it also tougher. But, you know, it was just small details that I had to adjust today for the match.
Q. Were you extra psyched up or motivated just knowing that, you know, Milos is one of the young guys that people are looking at to make a breakthrough and you’re at this stage of the major, did you go into this match with that heightened sense of…
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Again, I’m sure that’s not going to be our last match. I’m sure we will have many more battles. He’s a great guy, first of all. I know him quite some time. We played juniors together.
I’m sure we’re gonna play quite a few matches together. I mean, it’s, you know, a shame that we had to play at that early stage, so to speak.
Q. So yes, you go into it with more of a sense of like this is a big match for me?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No. I was just excited to get on the court, you know, and play my match. Again, I have practiced for this. I have worked for this. I think I deserve to be out there.
And, you know, a win is a win. To me it’s just another win. I think every match is important out here.
Q. Do you think you can win the tournament?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: That’s a great question.
I will answer next week (smiling).
Q. That’s a great answer.
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