Grigor Dimitrov is sitting in his post match press conference as cool as a cucumber.
To look at him one would never have guessed that he’d just swatted aside defending champion Andy Murray. Or that he’d carved out a Wimbledon semi-final place for the first time in his career.
The 23-year-old insisted he was excited. “I am, I am,” he said. “Maybe I’m not showing it but the tournament continues for me. I just need to be as composed as possible, as humble as possible. It’s just a good stage for me to be in. I’m happy to be on that semi-final. Hopefully there’s two more to go for me.”
The Bulgarian, who lifted the Queen’s title just a couple of weeks ago, is certainly playing sparkling tennis but was he not surprised by Wednesday's victory and the ease with which it came?
His answer was frank. “No. Why would I have to be surprised? It’s a good feeling, I’m not going to hide that. It’s a great feeling. I’m proud of what I did. But it’s something that I’ve worked for, to get onto that stage, come out, and switch to another gear. It’s a quarter-final match, playing against the defending champion, against a gentleman like Andy. That adds a lot.”
Dimitrov sensed that Murray was not striking the ball as well he usually does and felt the No.3 seed’s lack of difficult matches on his way to the last eight served in his favour.
So he set about employing a patient game remaining positive and focused throughout his 6-1, 7-6, 6-2 victory.
Since teaming up with Roger Rasheed last Autumn, Dimitrov has won three titles and made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Reaching the second week of a Grand Slam, he confesses, changes a player’s dimension and focus.
“I felt that I've raised my level a little bit on and off the court. Off the court is my focus. My ability to switch when I really have to go another gear. And today I knew I was ready to play... I think I was composed and as calm as possible on the court. The good thing is I played a match already on the Centre Court, so that gave me an extra edge.”
He now has a day off before facing Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and intends to go back to his ‘regular routine’.
Dimitrov could not answer whether his girlfriend Maria Sharapova was watching his quarter-final conquest from the stands but said he was pretty sure she’d turn up for the final should he arrive there. So has the Russian offered any tips on how to triumph here? “Win it,” he says smiling. "What can I say, I think it’s a good tip.”
Novak Djokovic was another player who kept his composure. The top seed had his work cut out against No.26 seed Marin Cilic but eventually prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2. Speaking about a changeover moment in the fourth set where he sat down and closed his eyes, the world No.2 said: “You go through the difficult moments, especially when you're two sets to one down, playing quarters of Grand Slams. It gets very emotional. You're fighting on the court as much as your opponent, and you try to just mentally be strong and find that inner strength that can help you in those particular moments. That's what helped me.”
In the bottom half of the draw, No.4 seed Roger Federer defeated compatriot Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4. He revealed he began thinking about his friendship with Stan midway through the second set. “It goes in phases. You need some energy to push yourself. You want to win the match. You don't necessarily want to beat him, but you want to win the match. So that's the odd part. It plays its role during the match. I still felt I was able to focus well and play as good as Stan allowed me to play, because he was playing really well right out of the gates. He came out and was crushing the ball, forehand and backhand and even serve, so it was very difficult for me.”
In the last quarter-final to finish on Wednesday, Milos Raonic dashed Australian wild card Nick Kyrgios’s spellbinding Wimbledon run along with his hopes of playing his idol Roger Federer. The No.8 seed prevailed 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach the Wimbledon semi final for the first time in his life.
Asked if he realised that this could be a defining moment in his career, the Canadian said: “It can be if I get the job done. I focus on what I need to do. Everything else is a ripple effect. Everything else is a reason. I have to create the cause for it by playing good tennis and giving myself the possibility to win.”
20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...
20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."View all