Grigor Dimitrov is not ready to press the panic button despite his fifth first-round exit this year, falling to three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in four sets at 2018 Wimbledon.
The Bulgarian has compiled just a 19-13 record this year, failing to build on the momentum achieved in the second half of 2017 when he won his first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati and the ATP Finals.
Dimitrov will "try to remain positive" despite latest setback
Following his defeat, Dimitrov said: “There's no reason to panic or anything. I'm not that type of a person anyway. I'll try to remain positive because I know that's one of the toughest things, especially when you exit early in the tournament. You have to stay positive, simple as that. You can't just go down on yourself.”
He acknowledged that despite Wawrinka owning 51 career top ten wins, that didn’t make the defeat any easier to take: “It's hard for me to just accept losing, period. Especially at an event like this that I've done so well at in the past.
"I've beaten big names on that Centre Court, played tough matches against big players. It's kind of at the same time a tough pill to swallow. Again, in order to get to the trophy, you need to win seven matches.”
Bulgarian talks of desire "to want more"
With a chance to serve out the third set and take a two sets to one lead, Dimitrov was broken and proceeded to lose the tiebreak, one of a number of key moments in which he failed to produce.
“I always want more for myself. Maybe this is what the body can take right now. I think it's very tough when you reach a certain level and you want to go forward, but there's the last, like, two, three per cent that are the toughest ones.
“Each year you're growing, growing. You're [World No.] 3. What is the next step? Wow, I can be No. 1. For me, those are the steps that are going to make the biggest difference".
He also spoke of how the number of matches may be affecting him physically: “There's an accumulation of a lot of matches, beating up on the body, especially on the mental side.
"I mean, considering how many matches I had to fight through and come back from a set down on many occasions. Yeah, I mean, part of it could be, to be honest. But in order to be the best, that's what you need to be doing every single year.”
First round exit "a shock" to Dimitrov
A semifinalist at the All-England Club in 2014, the world number six is trying to deal with the reality of a painful defeat: “It's a bumpy road, simple as that. For sure I'm not happy to lose first round in Wimbledon. I don't remember when was the last time that happened to me.
“It's still a bit of a shock to me. I need to accept it, I guess. I don't know what I will do now. I think one of the best things in a way is, I'm trying to find the silver lining, is that I can take some time off, really put the racquet aside now for plenty of time, if I have to be honest.
- He is pondering taking some time off: “A little break, I think, couldn't hurt anyone. The most important thing is, as I said, which is one of the toughest things, to remain positive. That is absolutely the toughest task. Knowing you're out, watching the matches on TV is not going to be easy. If it was easy, that wouldn't be tennis.”