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Dimitrov Hurting A Lot, But Moving Forward

Melbourne, Australia

Dimitrov© Getty ImagesGrigor Dimitrov was contesting his first major quarter-final.

An emotional Grigor Dimitrov went into his post-match press conference hurting a lot after his quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal on Wednesday night, admitting he had expected nothing less than a win on his best performance in a major championship.

“I had expectations for myself,” said Dimitrov. “That wasn't just to go out there and play. That's to me the biggest disappointment, the negative part of it, of course. Of course I shed a few tears, but it should hurt. It should hurt. And it does hurt.”

The 22-year-old Dimitrov had his chances against World No. 1 Nadal. He had three set points in the third set, which would have given him a two-sets-to-one lead, and had the set on his racquet in the tie-break when he teed up a forehand down the line. It landed millimetres wide.

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"What can I say? It hurts," admitted Dimitrov, recalling the shot. "I'm happy that I took the decision. Once you take decision, never look back. Obviously I've got to put that in the past. It's just a tough shot, you know (tearing up). It's a tough choice. But in a match everything comes down to a split second."

The Bulgarian made his major breakthrough in Melbourne over the past 10 days, winning an eagerly anticipated clash with Milos Raonic in the third round before ending Roberto Bautista Agut’s run in the fourth round. He had made strides at the end of 2013, winning his first ATP World Tour title in Stockholm before spending an intense off-season training hard with new coach Roger Rasheed in California.

Set to break the Top 20 for the first time on Monday, Dimitrov is looking to build on his early success this season. “The one thing I'm really excited is to actually get back on the court in the upcoming weeks and start working and come up to the same stage and try to do it again,” said Dimitrov.

“Of course I'm deeply disappointed. I'm not going to lie. But at the end of the day I have to take the positives and the negatives out of the match and just kind of move on. I’m happy with the situation at the moment. All the credit to Rafa. I think he played a great match. Also his physicality came over towards the end of the match. He's not [just] one of the best; I think he is the best player right now. Hopefully we're going to have more battles in the future together.

“I think I still have a long way to go out there and I need to improve,” continued the right-hander. “I need to improve every day. I felt that these two weeks, even though I haven't played my best tennis throughout the whole weeks, I still felt I've improved.”

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