The New Face Of Bulgarian Tennis
Popularly known as “Baby Fed” due to resemblance of his in-filed strokes to that of Roger Federer’s, Grigor Dimitrov is striving to top the charts of World Tennis League. Currently at No.8, he is the only male player from Bulgaria who has been in top 10 of the ATP singles ranking and also the first Bulgarian male tennis player to have won an ATP title in singles. His credentials further states that he is first tennis player from his country who reached to finals in ATP doubles tournament.
Dimitrov’s passion for tennis has made his nation proud. Until now Bulgaria’s success in tennis was only seen when the Maleeva sisters: Katerina, Manuela and Magdalena had each reached the top ten in ATP world rankings at the same time. Grigor Dimitrov is the first male player who has got such recognition in World Tennis. He sure is the new face of Bulgarian Tennis!
Grigor Dimitrov’s passion for Tennis was clearly seen during his junior years of tennis. He had a very successful junior career where he claimed the U14 European Title and U16 Orange Bowl Title during those years. Within no time Dimitrov topped the charts of world junior rankings. One may not shy away from saying that – ‘it was in his genes’. His father Dimitar was a tennis coach and his mother was a former volleyball player. The support and guidance of parents was the base of this new rising-star’s career. In 2007 Dimitrov was honored with the title “Eddie Herr International 2007 Rising Star”.
Start Of Professional Career
Later Grigor decided to end his career in junior tennis and concentrate on professional career. Dimitrov did not smell success straightaway in his professional career which he began in 2008. He played his first match against Igor Andreev in Ordina Open which he lost in straight sets. His first ATP win was recorded in 2009 where he scored an upset over Tomas Berdych – the then world No. 23. Dimitrov played few tournaments that year but failed to make more progress in further stages of matches.
However, his hunger to be the best in his game kept him strong. For next four years Dimitrov kept playing in various tournaments to improve his ATP ranking. In year 2010 Grigor represented Bulgaria in Davis Cup and won all 3 matches over Monaco. He also claimed three titles of viz. IPP Trophy, hang-Sat Bangkok Open and Chang-Sat Bangkok Open-2. By the end of 2010 Dimitrov had reached ATP world ranking 106 and in 2012 he was already on number 48 in ATP charts. The only thing that was missing was an ATP title to his name.
Beating Novac Djokovic
2013 was the year when Grigor Dimitrov got the recognition he deserved. It was only in 2013 in IF Stockholm Open that Dimitrov defeated David Ferrer and claimed his first ATP title which gave him a major leap in ATP rankings in which he was now No. 22. Dimitrov got in Limelight when he beat world No.1, Novac Djokovic in 2013 Madrid Open. He couldn’t have been more proud of himself when the World’s Best Tennis Player embraced him after being defeated quite convincingly by the youngster. “I played against a future star, he is already a top player with quality shots and a great touch”, were the words of Novak Djokovic after this match.
Grigor Dimitrov’s physical fitness has been one of the major concerns in his career. He has withdrawn from tournaments several times just because he was not in perfect physical shape. However, his performance in year 2014 has clearly shown us that he is working very hard to stay in best shape. His current coach Roger Rasheed has played an important role in his recent success. After being appointed as his coach, Rasheed worked on the weakness of Dimitrov’s – the most important of them being his fitness.
First Bulgarian Wimbledon Semi-Finalist
In 2014 Dimitrov played consistently in different tournaments to improve his ATP rankings. He had his best run in 2014 Grandslam event where he defeated Bradley Klahn, Lu Yen-hsun, Milos Raonic and Roberto Bautista Agut and made his way to the quarter-final. Although he lost to then No.1 Rafael Nadal, he still managed to get in top-twenty of ATP ranking. He was the first male tennis player from Bulgaria to have reached this pinnacle. In 2014 Wimbledon Championship Grigor reached his first Grandslam semi-final (interestingly he was the first male Bulgarian to have reached this stage too). Later he lost to Novac Djokovic who went on to win the tournament. For the first time Grigor Dimitrov was listed in Top 10 ATP rankings – standing at No. 9.
Grigor Dimitrov has shown lot of courage, determination and cold-eyed focus over the last few years. He is a sheer delight to watch on the field and it will be really interesting to see how this upcoming star takes the reign from world’s top tennis players.