Grigor Dimitrov, who lost to Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round in Madrid on Tuesday, said he was drained from the Istanbul final, and explained some of his emotions from the racquet-smashing match.
"I had a pretty rough final out in Turkey, and then I flew yesterday morning,” he told the press in Madrid. “I didn't even hit on the courts yesterday. Today was only sort of 20 minutes to adjust for the match. Only thing I could do is go out and try."
Currently ranked No. 28, the Bulgarian was up a set and 5-2 before falling, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-0, to Diego Schwartzman. He admitted that he was angry that his strings kept breaking, and ended up smashing three of his Wilson racquets.
“A lot was going on,” he said. “It's no fun when you break strings on such big points, and in such big moments. It gets to you. That shows, also, that we're all human. I let myself down, and mainly my family and my team. Of course all the audience. You know me. I don't usually do that kind of stuff. It sets a super bad example for the youth.
"It happened. That was me that day. I'm not trying to hide it. I'm sure everyone saw it, so I don't shy away from it. I care a lot for the matches. I care and I was so close. In Sydney I was so close. [He dropped the third set, 7-6 (7), to Viktor Troicki in the final, holding one match point.] So it just builds up a little bit.”
Ranked No. 8 in 2014, Dimitrov lost to Roger Federer in four sets in the third round of the Australia Open. He was upset by American Rajeev Ram in the semis in Delray Beach and fell to the rising Dominic Thiem in the quarters in Acapulco. He exited early in Indian Wells and lost to Gael Monfils in three sets in the fourth round in Miami.
The 24-year-old Dimitrov says those frustrations were reflected in his anger in Istanbul.
“I'm very hard on myself in general,” he said. “I always want perfection. I know there is no such thing as perfection, but I'm always aiming to be the best that I can. Sometimes it gets to you a little bit. Like I wanted it too much. That also showed that I cared a lot. The past days have been rough, but in a way I'm happy that this just is behind me now.
"I felt a little bit like a kite in a perfect storm.”
Dimitrov said that he spoke to Schwartzman after the match.
“He was in the locker room, and of course I apologized,” Dimitrov said. “I know what it is to win your first title, and to win it in that way ... If I were him I wouldn't talk to me, you know what I mean? I congratulated him and really apologized for taking that moment away from him. I can only learn from it.”
But as he aims to get his ranking back up, the former Top 10 player is convinced he is still on the right track.
"I feel I'm a better player than one year ago,” he said. “Of course I don't judge this by the results or the ranking or anything like that. For me, it's important in my game … Now the only thing is to put it together into the game and to find that rhythm … I know [how it feels to be ranked] 8 and 28, so I'm sure when I get back there I'm going to do things differently and have a different approach."