Grigor Dimitrov has opened up about his COVID-19 ordeal after making a successful return to tennis action at the Western & Southern Open.
Dimitrov rebounded from a break down in the second set to beat Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-3 6-4 at the US Open tune-up event in New York - his first match back since recovering from coronavirus.
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The Bulgarian No.14 seed tested positive for the virus in June following his participation in Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour and described the experience as one of his "toughest battles" ever.
The former World No.3, who was a semi-finalist at the US Open last year, arrived in New York less than two days prior to his match against Humbert, and did well to dispatch the 22-year-old in 84 minutes.
"I had no expectation coming into the match," said Dimitrov, a champion in Cincinnati in 2016.
"I arrived like a day and a half ago, I'm so jetlagged right now, it's crazy. There were a lot of obstacles clearly in the last couple of months, I just have to find a way."
Dimitrov is still not back to 100 per cent physically, but said he wanted to challenge himself by attempting to compete in New York.
He detailed his struggles with the virus and hopes to serve as an example to other players, who may not be taking COVID-19 as serious as they should be.
"The first week was just tragic, coming out of it," explained the 29-year-old.
"I started by just walking. I couldn't really do any exercise, I could not lift weights, I couldn't play tennis. So all I had to do was walk. I started actually crawling in the house, then walking outside, then slowly started to run a little bit each day."
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Dimitrov next takes on Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics in the second round.
Stefanos Tsitsipas showed zero signs of rust when he eased past South Africa's Kevin Anderson in just 68 minutes.
The Greek No.4 seed, who made back-to-back finals in February before the tour was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, was contesting his first official match since March but picked up right where he left off, defeating Anderson 6-1 6-3.
The 22-year-old is now 14-5 win-loss for the season and will face either John Isner or Australian John Millman in the next round.
Earlier in the day, Russian No.11 seed Karen Khachanov enjoyed a comfortable 6-4 6-4 win over Alexander Bublik while Britain's Dan Evans took out Russian No.10 seed Andrey Rublev 7-5 3-6 6-2 to set up a second round against Canada's Milos Raonic.
with Yahoo Sport staff