Grigor Dimitrov rightly feels very pleased with himself. He won his third title of the year but more importantly it is also the biggest title of his career. Playing his first final at an ATP Masters 1000, the 26 year old Bulgarian captured his first title at this level, a level of tournament that has generally been the domain for the likes of Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – between them they have won 95.
Dimitrov defeated another first timer at the Masters 1000 level, Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 for the title. It marked the first time since 2002 that both finalists at a Masters 1000 were first timers. Dimitrov now has a 2-0 record over the Australian.
“It’s great. I mean, honestly, it’s great. There’s no point to hide it.” Dimitrov said with a huge smile. “It’s something that I have worked for. This is the result of it, absolutely. But I hate to say it that way, but tomorrow I have to stop thinking about it.
“And this is one of the things that when you play tennis is you don’t get the chance to actually, you know, appreciate that the way that you’re supposed to appreciate that, right? But I’m just happy. There’s nothing else I can say, honestly. I’m just happy and I’m humbled to have that trophy in my hands, and especially to win here, my first Masters 1000. It’s just amazing.
“Yeah, going to the Open, it’s for sure a lot of positivity with it, but the most important thing now is just to stay grounded, keep on doing the same work, believe in myself, and just prepare the best way that I can for the Open.”
Kyrgios was bidding to become the youngest winner in Cincy since 2009 and the first unseeded champion in the Open-era and while he came up a fraction short, the Australian was very happy with how his week went, a week that saw him beat Rafa Nadal for the second time which levelled their head-to-head ta 2-2.
“Looking back from where I was a couple weeks ago, I would have never thought I would have had my first 1000 event final,” Kyrgios said. “So I’m pretty happy with the result. You know, from where I was to here, it’s just been amazing. It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving player. He’s really got his game back on track. I think he’s starting to be where I think I pictured him being.
“He struggled I think a year ago with his game, but now he’s playing some really good tennis. I’m just really happy to see. I’m feeling good. I’m pretty excited for the US Open. I’m just happy, being out there and getting some wins again.”
After Wimbledon Dimitrov spent time at Rafa Nadal’s new tennis academy and he said it was a huge experience. He practiced with Nadal, who while not reaching the final in Cincy still gains the world No.1 ranking for the first time since 2014.
“He’s always been one of my inspirations,” Dimitrov said. “Sometimes when I’m down in the match, I’m, like, if I’m complaining or something, I was, like, Would Rafa do that? I don’t think so. He’s a great – the week I spent with him was just pretty amazing. Just to spend time with him, not even on the court. Even off the court. We were having dinners together and just going to the beach and stuff.
“So it was great. In the same time, like, the first half morning, we’re just practicing nonstop. I swear to God, nonstop from the early morning. I was, like, Whoa, can we have at least the afternoon off?
“I was more than thankful for him letting me have that opportunity. You don’t get opportunities like that. I think after today, I’m just going to text him, like, Let’s do that again at some point. So, yeah, I think there is only positive things I can take out of that week with him.”
Kyrgios meanwhile said he wants to take things one day at a time. He does not want to regard this result as something like a “launching pad”. He just wants to be mellow about it all but did admit that he was having fun and that I the key for Kyrgios.
The doubles title went to Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert, they defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 7-6, 6-4. It is the second week running that the French guys have won a Masters 1000.