You may know him as Baby Fed, or Hollywood, or maybe by which WTA Diva he is currently dating, but yesterday, Grigor Dimitrov made sure people should know him strictly for his tennis, heart, and fight on the court.
Just 21 years old, the young Bulgarian defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round of Madrid in a battle 7-6 (6), 6-7 (8), 6-3. Nothing short of being a dramatic match, Dimitrov came out victorious, covered in red clay and bloody knees after he waded out the storm. The match was complete with Djokovic twisting an ankle, proceeded by taking a long injury time out, Dimitrov fought through body cramps, and the fans got behind the underdog and chanted his name until the end. After shaking hands, the Bulgarian was clearly proud, fought back tears and signed the camera by writing “I love you Dad.”
After winning Junior Wimbledon and the Junior US Open in 2008 and later working with Peter Lundgren (Federer’s former coach), word began to get around about the beautiful strokes that this talented Bulgarian plays with. Equipped with a beautiful one handed backhand, Dimitrov jokes that he isn’t even sure how to hit two handed backhands (and who would need to when it looks as gorgeous as his?). He has currently reached a career high of 28 on the ATP Tour and looks to be slowly and steadily improving to reach the potential many have been speaking about for years.
With a solid head on his shoulders and a big smile, Dimitrov surrounds himself with people he can learn from and continue to make him better. He currently has former ATP no. 2 and French Open finalist, Magnus Norman, traveling with him as his coach. When he isn’t on tour, you can find him training at the Good to Great Tennis Academy in Sweden. While he admits that he doesn’t love the nickname “Baby Fed,” Dimitrov is trying to find his own path and there is no question about this guy’s talent and heart on the court. It will be fun watching him in the months to come.
In other news from Madrid, Victoria Azarenka was ousted today in the second round by Ekaterina Makarova 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. It will be interesting to see how she bounces back for Roland Garros. Maria Sharapova seems to be cruising in Madrid after beating American Christina McHale 6-1, 6-2. Laura Robson is set to play Ana Ivanovic and Petra Kvitova will take on Daniela Hantuchova. On the men’s side, Kevin Anderson had a solid three set win over Juan Monaco, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-4. Fernando Verdasco had a tough win over Canadian, Milos Raonic, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6. With a win over Victor Troicki, 14th seeded Kei Nishikori is set to play Roger Federer in the next round. Some great tennis taking place in Madrid!
Play with heart,