News & Articles about Grigor - Page 51 - MensTennisForums.com
 20Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #751 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 01:51 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,802
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL

January 8, 2017

Grigor Dimitrov

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

G. DIMITROV/K. Nishikori

6-2, 2-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Must feel immensely satisfying?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah. I was just talking to my team, and, yeah, it is, for sure, one of the big moments for me. As I said on the court, it's been quite a few months for me, I think, on and off the court.

I think that was kind of an emotional win for me, but in the same time, it wasn't unexpected. I think I have put in the work. I think I have learned a lot. I have gone through some serious work and just -- you know, I have just been working on myself, you know, on and off the court.

I think at some point, you know, things need to start, you know, giving back to you a little bit. I just feel that -- first, I feel fortunate enough to be at the final, to be so healthy and to being obviously in such a shape. But in the same time, I'm pretty humbled, because I have set myself quite high goals, actually, for the first six months, and one of them was actually to win a tournament. And it happened during the first week of the year, which makes things definitely look a lot more positive for me, and I'm definitely happy with, but I'm just staying with my feet on the ground.

And as soon as I go to Melbourne, I'm going to just focus on what's ahead of me, you know, the heat, best-of-five sets, other players. I just really need to stay focused now.

Q. You are referring, I'm assuming, about how your rankings slipped down for you. What else was sort of eating away at you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't think that the ranking had such an impact on my performance or my mental state. I'm the type of guy that I don't really, like, look at those things.

I just set myself, and my team, we set goals, and we just need to reach them. Whether you're going to lose first round of tournament and go to the next one and win it, doesn't really matter to me.

But as I said, we sat down at the end of last year with my team, and we just said, Okay, well, you're 25 years old. You have obviously proved to yourself that you can play tennis, you know, your hard work and all this. So what's the next step?

Well, there you go. That's the next step. But there is still a lot ahead of us. And of course if you play well, perform well, you win tournaments, everything else comes with it. You know, you come to a higher ranking. Everything starts to ease up a little bit, but in the same time you need to get even more focused and pay more attention to the details.

Q. You said at the presentation that it's been an emotional past 12 months for you. We are trying to tap into has there been anything not tennis related which has been hard for you to deal with?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, it's just -- it's all together, you know. I mean, life itself, you think about it, I mean, if we don't play tennis, we're just, you know, home or trying to find a solution, you know, what makes you happy, what kind of lifestyle you want to have, what kind of rhythm you want to have.

It's obviously never easy when you can't spend time with your close ones, with your family. I mean, we travel 23 weeks a year. If you think about it, it's just brutal. And sometimes you need to feel, like, normal, so to speak.

I'm the kind of guy that I cannot just lock myself in the room and just think tennis for 24 hours. There is definitely -- you know, it hasn't helped me. And since I have been here, every night I've been going to the arcades, for example, for an hour and a half, been playing arcades. It's given me tremendous joy.

You know, it's something so childish, if you want to say it. Well, every time I was going to bed, I was, like, Wow, that feels so good. It's just something so small (smiling).

That's why I say those, I think, these 10 days that I have been here -- I don't remember having -- I want to say, for sure, fun, but in the same time I was very focused, played quite solid all the matches. So I was just -- overall, I just felt good.

I don't remember the last time I felt that good on and off the court.

Q. I didn't know we had any arcades left in Brisbane.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, they're great. Albert Street. Anything you need, Albert Street. Go from Nando's to, you know, anything you want.

Q. Video games?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I played motor bikes, we played cars, basketball, I mean, I went there with my fitness coach and we were -- I think we were the biggest kids out there. It was disaster. I have some videos. It's, like, wow.

Q. Did you find any difference between the second and third set in terms of Kei's performance? He took an injury timeout.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, for sure. I thought something was happening, but there was this one point, I believe in the second set, early in the second set, when I took a wrong decision to play that shot, and I felt like Kei took advantage of it, and I think that was my mistake in the second set from then on.

You know, players like him always -- they can sniff that, like they can just feel it. I felt from then on he changed his position on the court a little bit. I paid the price, obviously. Didn't win one point after that shot.

In the same time, I mean, it's part of the game, and one of the biggest things I'm happy with this week is just my mentality and my positivity on the court. Even though I was down or a break down or tough moments, Love-40, I was just, you know, keep believing. If you believe, you're halfway there.

Q. You're not playing Sydney, are you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No.

Q. You're going straight to the arcades in Melbourne?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Absolutely. Tomorrow night, arcades, Melbourne. I need to find it, so if you guys have some tips...

Q. Obviously winning a title, it maybe elevates you for the Australian Open results. How do you feel about that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, this is the type of thing I really don't think about it, because, I mean, nowadays everyone can beat everyone. That's just how it is.

Let's face it, guys, you have tremendous talent on tour, from No. 1 to, let's say, No. 100, let's say. Anyone can beat anyone.

Things have been pretty different lately in sort of tennis world. You see people are improving. Younger guys are coming up. So to speak traditional guys are starting to slow down a little bit.

We all see that, so let's not shy away from it, but I'm pretty focused on myself right now, to be honest, and I'm really gonna stay away from all that, you know, talk or the commentary or anything like that, because, as I said, I just want to do things and be with people in a way that makes me happy, makes me feel comfortable to come out there every day and under that sun, you know, 38 degrees or jump in the ice bath and feel happy about it. Just focus on that, to be honest.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
CCTennis is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #752 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 01:19 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,700
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

Evening all. Here's a link to an article about Grigor which may be of interest:
Grigor Dimitrov is ready to knuckle down and live up to 'Baby Fed' hype
Spirographus, RU90 and Dimitard like this.
alypen is offline  
post #753 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 10:30 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 609
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

Quote:
Originally Posted by alypen View Post
Evening all. Here's a link to an article about Grigor which may be of interest:
Grigor Dimitrov is ready to knuckle down and live up to 'Baby Fed' hype
Yeah, I saw this one. The part that impressed me the most is this:

Dimitrov’s support staff was augmented last summer by the arrival of new coach Dani Vallverdu, formerly assistant coach to Murray. The unflappable Vallverdu, who had spent the previous 18 months working with Tomas Berdych, describes his latest post as “easy work, because Grigor’s a good boy – he just does what he’s told”. Together, they have been trying to address Dimitrov’s unfortunate habit of forgetting his game plan on big points. His groundstrokes might evoke Roger Federer’s poise and elegance. Thus far, though, he has failed to match the great man’s impeccable shot selection.

“It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time to have too many tools in your bag,” says Dimitrov. “But we’ve been practising to simplify the game as much as possible. I’ve said that before in previous years, but I was never able to sustain it for a long period of time. Now I think it’s going to be important to do that, and keep on with the same way of playing, even if lose a match 6-2, 6-2. In the long term, this will help me.”
RU90 likes this.
Spirographus is offline  
 
post #754 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-22-2017, 05:04 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,802
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Grigor Dimitrov 21-01-17

Grigor Dimitrov def Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-2 6-4


Q. How did you feel about going onto the court so late, two minutes before midnight?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, a lot of thoughts can go through your head around that time. The past couple of days I've been going to bed pretty late just to get the feel going to bed late. I don't fall asleep if the match goes on.

But again tonight, I'm just happy I finished in straight sets and I didn't have to waste more energy or more time on the court. So I'm just happy with that.

Q. Was there any talk about a curfew, a midnight curfew?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Meaning?

Q. You couldn't go on after a certain hour.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I've never heard of that. We had matches in the past finishing 4, 5 in the morning. It's in the game. Whatever it is, it's in the game. I just had to deal with whatever was in front of me. Yeah, I'm just moving along now.

Q. What kind of impact do you think it will have on your tournament moving into the latter rounds?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: For sure a match like that, it helps me. I helps me to have more confidence, to feel better on the court, more secure in my shots. Just a lot of positives. Take a lot of positives out of that match. The first couple of matches were so-so in my opinion. To be able to come tonight and step up against a player like Richard, it means a lot to me, gives me good credit. In the same time I just need to focus now, just need to keep the same line, just control what I can.

Q. In Brisbane you said you changed your routine a little bit, you were going to arcades and playing games. Been doing anything like that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Actually I went to the arcades a few nights ago. I think it's important to kind of disconnect a little bit, just hang out with friends, walk around, do whatever you feel like doing. I think it's very important for the mind and the body to be synchronized with you. If you feel that you're in one element, it always feels good to be on the court warming up, you feel loose, happy. I think this is great. In the same time, you need to enjoy every match you play. You just never know what's going to happen, if it's going to be your last match on such a court. It was my first win on Rod Laver. I'm going to remember that for sure. Those moments for me count a lot.

Q. Will you be requesting a later start on Monday?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I'm not one of those guys that go, Can you please play me at 1 a.m. in the morning, whatever. Whatever time. I really don't care. I wouldn't think they're going to put us early to play anyway just because of my match and Denis's match. Getting ready for that one.

Q. What time do you think you'll be able to get to sleep tonight?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Hopefully by 5 I'm going to be done with everything, all the stretchings, the rehab, just sleep in, come back tomorrow, hit some balls. Kind of go to bed again.


Grigor Dimitrov 21-01-17 - Australian Open Tennis Championships 2017 - Official Site by IBM
RU90 likes this.
CCTennis is offline  
post #755 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 02:55 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,802
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Grigor Dimitrov 23-01-17

Grigor Dimitrov def Denis Istomin 2-6 7-6(2) 6-2 6-1


Q. A few weeks into 2017 and you already managed to reach goals that you missed in the past two years. How does it feel? What do you think clicked in in the off-season?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, I've been on tour for about eight years now. I kind of know what I have to do. So, I mean, I haven't done anything different different in my off-season. I think I was just very, very composed, and I had a good structure with my team. We were focusing I think on the right things.

I've learned a lot of new things about myself, I think, starting to work with Dani, with my coach. It was just nice that he came at a good time, the end of last year. As soon as the off-season was on, it was just very simple. Had quite a few big talks. We discussed what we can do better, what we need to work on, what we need to improve, and how we want to be in 2017. I mean, simple as that.

Then, for sure, the belief after. I started believing a little bit more in myself. I started the year very well, winning in Brisbane, beating good guys.

So, yeah, I think that's about it. I mean, I feel good right now. In the same time also humbled with the results I have so far. But now you enter into a different phase of the tournament, so I'm just focused on that.

Q. You're playing for a spot in the semis against Goffin. Your thoughts about the match?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's going to be a tough match, for sure, without a doubt. David is an excellent player. In a way I know what to expect from him. We've practiced against each other a few times this off-season. And he's a very dangerous player.

I just need to be ready mentally and physically for the battle. Honestly, there's not much else you can say about that.

Q. It's one thing to have a good chance on paper. It's another thing to take it. How happy are you with the way you played today and what can happen next round?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think first set I just didn't play well, and he came out too hot. He was just swinging for his shots, playing a lot of down the line, hitting his spots on the serve, so...

I mean, I knew I had to fight, that's for sure. I never wanted to underestimate him. He's an excellent player. Experienced, as well. I just needed to, you know, fight. I needed that one game to kind of get into the match and have that rhythm going.

Yeah, I mean, I was just happy with the win, for sure. I mean, I fought I think through that second set. Then the third, I was just playing very steady. I was doing the right things. In the fourth, I was just stepping in and absolutely playing my game to the point I was doing everything I wanted pretty much each game. So that gives you a lot of confidence.

Yeah, I was just excited to play again.

Q. Does the draw look like a good opportunity for you as a crack at a Grand Slam? Does it feel like it's a good opportunity because Novak isn't on this side anymore?

GRIGOR DIMITROV: Obviously there's been a lot of talk going on around those two guys exiting the tournament, but, I mean, you should never look at it that way, the draw is open. What does that mean? I mean, just two guys are out of the draw. Okay, big deal.

For sure it's different. I'm not saying that it's not. But in the same time, we saw that everyone can beat everyone. If you follow your own path and the way you're playing, the belief that you have, anything can happen.

Right now I think it's just important to focus one match at a time, enjoy it, embrace it. I mean, I'm so thankful to be playing, like, all these matches on such a big courts. The crowd has been amazing.

So it's an unbelievable feeling. I'm not lying. I'm happy to be on that stage of a tournament. Quarterfinals of a slam, it's great. I'm happy that I'm capable to do that. Just looking forward to the next one.

Q. What is the toughest thing when you're playing David? That he's defending so well?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think recently he's been serving really well, really well. He served his way out of trouble. I think this is, for sure, one of his biggest weapons I think right now. For sure, he's one of the greatest defenders out there.

I mean, that's what I'm saying. He's very dangerous all over the court. He can hit quite a few shots, moves well on the court, reads the game well.

It's going to be a tough match, there's no doubt about that. So as I said, I just need to focus on my game and just do my thing out there. This is what I'm going to be focusing on.

Q. In the US Open you made some popular famous quotes, which is you are falling in love with tennis. Can you talk about how it happened and how you feel now.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, I fell in love with tennis many years ago. Yeah, it was just a time that I wasn't in I think a really good mental place. I was, I don't want say grumpy, but there were things going on around. I just needed to find that inspiration again. I needed to find that way of playing and enjoying again, loving again.

So my best friend was tennis, of course. 'The person,' I was counting on that. I was coming on the court. There was just days after days I was going through that momentum. That's why I said I fell in love with the game again. It gives me the excitement. It gives me all those butterflies every day coming out to a match.

I count those moments, and I appreciate them way more than actually some of the wins or anything like that. Like the moment makes you feel, like, that special feeling.

I can give you an example. Today, the second set meant a lot more than one of my previous matches here. Even though when you're not playing good, you're fighting, you're struggling with yourself, with the shots or the opponent. To be able to dig that match out in that way, you know, that count a lot for me.

Q. Talking about falling in love, do you think that falling in love with something else than tennis did delay a little bit your rise?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: What are you referring to (smiling)? Go ahead, say it to me. It's okay.

Q. When I was young, I did like very much the young girls. Sometimes I got distracted. So I'd like to know if you get distracted, too.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: You deserve the best answer now. Let me think about it (laughter). That was the greatest thing I've heard, man. Oh, wow.

I obviously have a soft spot for that. You know, on a serious note, I always try to keep whatever else outside the court. I think when I was younger, I was struggling to kind of differentiating love from a personal love or a tennis love or whatever else, for sure.

You know, there was time, a period, that I wasn't, like, kind of sure how to deal with both things in the same time. But you learn. I guess we grow. I mean, I don't want to say I've learned from my mistakes, but I've learned myself a little bit better. I think that helps me. Hopefully it's going to help me for the future through any kind of falling-in-love stuff. But yeah.

Q. Good luck.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Thank you (smiling).

Q. In 2008 you played the Wimbledon junior final against Finnish player, Henri Kontinen? How happy were you to see him win the Barclays World Tour Finals in London?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's always nice to see a familiar face, especially when you're playing together pretty much forever. I actually played his brother once in Davis Cup. I think so, in one of those ties in Bulgaria, I played against him as well.

Henri is a great guy. We still talk about that final over there, the dropshot I did at 5-All or something. He was telling me. I don't even remember that stuff. Apparently it hurts him a lot.

It's always nice to see a fellow player kind of through the years just winning and becoming No. 1. I think winning the Masters is even more special. I'm sure he's happy with that one.


Grigor Dimitrov 23-01-17 - Australian Open Tennis Championships 2017 - Official Site by IBM
CCTennis is offline  
post #756 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 05:42 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,802
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Grigor Dimitrov 25-01-17

Grigor Dimitrov def David Goffin 6-3 6-2 6-4


Q. Did you think it was going to be as straightforward as that after the first four games?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, absolutely not. I mean, I knew David is going to fight till the end. I think the first four, five games were a bit tight from both ends. I was trying to find the right groove.

The conditions were a little bit tough today. It was a little bit windy on one side. You had to find your way around the court. Toss on the serve as well. There were just a few details that I felt I had to fix in a better way.

After the first set, I felt a little bit better, for sure. Then I felt I was in control of the match after that.

Q. You had a low period in the middle of last year. You're playing incredibly well now. Was there any one point you can look back on as the turning point in your fortunes?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, I don't think so. I don't think there was one particular moment where it was, Oh, wow, now I'm starting to play good again.

I think I just keep doing the things that I was doing, what I was believing in. But, again, I think I have to give a lot of credit to my team, especially to my coach, to Daniel, to my fitness guy Sebastien, and then the other people that were there for me at the tough time.

We kept on working. We kept on doing the right things. Yeah, I mean, I think that was one of my biggest supports. I don't want to forget my family. Those two components were really amazing.

I think that was it for me. I mean, I never felt that I was doing something wrong wrong. I just felt that I was not playing and practicing well, not doing the right things.

But, yeah, with the right set of people, things started to slowly move forward for me. Now I think I'm just in a good place.

Q. You're in another semifinal. You've only dropped a couple of sets for the tournament. What makes you feel like you're able to go one step further this time?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, all the things. I feel like I have all the tools to go further, and my job isn't over yet. I'm looking forward to my match on Friday. I think I'm prepared. I think I'm ready to go the distance.

I don't shy away from that. I'm confident enough to say that I feel good physically, and overall like on the court. Just going forward with the confidence that I have built up also from the previous tournament. Now with each match I've been feeling better and better. It just all comes pretty natural right now.

Q. Can you describe in which specific ways you have matured on the court.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I can't see myself obviously from the side. But I think I'm taking better decisions when I come out on the court, better decisions in terms of points or how I'm going to play certain players or how I'm going to prepare, for example, before my matches. Little things that are important for me in order to come to the court.

I think my focus has been good. The mentality has been there. I've been present when I'm playing my matches. Just fighting. I keep on fighting. I have a good spirit on the court, being positive.

There are obviously a lot of small things that when you put them up together it makes a big difference.

Q. Dani said you have a sweet exterior but you're a fighter, and he's trying to bring that out in you.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: What do you mean?

Q. Do you feel like you're fighting or competing differently on court now? Do you feel better in that sort of aspect?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, I mean, right now I'm enjoying the fight. That's for sure. I'm enjoying to run down every ball. I think also when you feel physically good and you feel well to kind of get into a match, I mean, that gives you a different perspective as soon as you get out on the court. Whoever you play, you know you're going to get your chance. That's already an advantage before you even step on the court.

But, yeah, it just pretty simple. Like I come on the court. I'm just happy to try to find a way, even if things are not going my way. Like the other day, the first set, I didn't have my racquet on the ball, so I had to find a way to do something else and something better. When I did, I'm just proud of that, that I did. Those kind of moments, as I said, they mean a lot more to me.

Q. Are you regretting your loss seven times out of eight to Nadal, but beat three times out of four Raonic? Is it an easy bet that you prefer one instead of the other?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: There's no easy bets here, my man. There's no easy bets out here.

Whoever I play, yeah, I don't really care.

Q. Not the slightest preference?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: In order to win a slam, there's no shortcut. If you think about it, I mean, when have you seen an easy semifinal or something like that? You got to work for it. Whoever I'm going to play, I have to fight, I have to be ready.

Q. Are you fully concentrated on that semifinal? Is there anybody that can distract you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Nothing, nothing. Nothing is distracting me so far. I mean, I know what you're referring to, again.

But, no, no, everything is good. I'm enjoying a lot my downtime in Melbourne. I've been going out to the parks recently, so I'm staying away, out of trouble. As I said, I'm enjoying my time here. I'm enjoying coming out on the court. I'm going to enjoy other things maybe next week (smiling).

Q. You said things are simple for you now on court. What are the sort of things that used to make it complicated that you've been able to block out?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: On court?

Q. Yes, or off.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think I have straighter priorities right now. I know what I want from myself as soon as I come to a tournament. I know why I worked. I think also to have a nice and good schedule, to know what you're doing week after week. You know, you win a match, what's the next step? Whether it's rehab or to grab some food, to recover, these are the things that I've just been really focused on.

It's not to the point that I'm too crazy about it, but I feel like I'm doing the right things. I think that itself helps me to simplify everything around me.

Again, I think we all work really good as a team right now. I think we all got the goal, and that is to win.

Q. Years ago when Goran Ivanisevic started to win, some of the old Croatian media started to appear at the slams. Is something changing in the Bulgarian media? Are more people following you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: So far, I mean, I haven't seen any major change, so to speak. Who knows.

Q. Do they show your matches on TV in Bulgaria?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yes. I think mainly when you play on the bigger courts.

Q. The gap between juniors and making it at the top on the full tour seem to be getting longer at the moment. It's nearly 10 years now since you were a top junior. What have you had to learn in that intervening time to make you a regular on the top level?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: First of all, tennis has changed so much. I think my first time I played a professional match I think was against Tomas Berdych. I was 17 years old. Played in Rotterdam. I beat him that time. I had to play Rafa second round. He just came off from a win here. It went to a third set. I mean, I kind of thought like, Wow, I'm there.

I was nowhere to be close. I mean, it took me another two years to get to the top hundred and all that.

It's just there's so many things that are different than before. I wish I could give an example. I mean, but I see the juniors nowadays, a lot of kids, they're like 6'5", 6'4". They already have a tremendous advantage. They have the right people in terms of team. Some come with psychologists, fitness guys, a physio, this and that.

Personally I couldn't afford that till I was like 23 probably, 24. You just can't compare one thing to another. Again, tennis has changed so much. But for sure, I think you're going to see a lot of juniors doing good this year if not next, for the upcoming years.


Grigor Dimitrov 25-01-17 - Australian Open Tennis Championships 2017 - Official Site by IBM
RU90 likes this.
CCTennis is offline  
post #757 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 09:37 AM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,802
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

DIMITROV SAYS HE'S FOUND HIS TENNIS IDENTITY; COULD IT BE SLAM CHAMP?

Tennis.com

by: STEVE TIGNOR January 25, 2017


Even when a player’s results dramatically improve, it can be difficult to put your finger on what exactly has changed about his or her game. The grips, the strokes, the tactics, the movements, the mannerisms and the facial expressions are likely to look the same as they ever did. And so far that has been the case, at least for this observer, during Grigor Dimitrov’s sudden run of brilliance in 2017.

As of two years ago, the boy once known as Baby Fed had dropped out of the Top 10 and been chalked up by most fans as a lost cause. He was style over substance, a cautionary tale about talent gone to waste; the leader of Generation Soft, a group that appeared destined to spend their careers toiling futilely in the shadows of the Big Four.

Now Dimitrov has won his first 10 matches of 2017, a run that has taken him to his second Grand Slam semifinal (and first since 2014), and includes real-deal Top 20 wins over Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem, Richard Gasquet and David Goffin. Even for hardened tennis fans, it has been a thrilling ride. Dimitrov, at his best, really does play the same type of appealingly varied and aggressive tennis that has made Federer the most popular player of this era.

What has changed so drastically?

My first observation was a simple and unhelpful one: “The shots that he used to hit out are now all going in.” In Brisbane and now Melbourne, Dimitrov has been setting up for his forehand earlier and hitting it for winners more often. His one-handed backhand, which has often been a shank-riddled liability in the past, has become steadier. And twice at the Aussie, against Denis Istomin and Hyeon Chung, Dimitrov has taken a quick first-set loss in stride and bounced right back to win in four.

Yet all of those things are the effects of improvement; the causes have remained a mystery.

It wasn’t until Dimitrov was asked, “In which specific ways have you matured?” that something in his answer clicked with me.

“I think my focus has been good,” Dimitrov said. “The mentality has been there. I’ve been present when I’m playing matches.”

“I’ve been present”: That was it. Watching Dimitrov for much of 2015 and 2016, he looked absent much of the time. His eyes were hollow and his body seemed to be going through the motions of playing tennis. The poor results weren’t a surprise. While Dimitrov isn’t any more demonstrative than he has been in the past, in 2017 the eyes are alive and the walk is determined again.

Dimitrov has taken his share of rides on the tennis-coaching carousel over the years. He’s been to Sweden, Paris and Southern California, and worked with people as varied as Peter McNamara and Franco Davin. Until now, he had his best run with Roger Rasheed, an Australian taskmaster known for his motivational skills. It seemed that the placid Dimitrov needed someone who was his opposite to kick him into gear. This time, though, he’s succeeding with a coach, Dani Vallverdu, who is just as mellow as he is. Opposites can attract, but compatibility usually works better in the long run.

“Now that I’m working with Dani, it’s also nice to have someone you can really get close to and share a lot,” Dimitrov told ATPWorldTour.com last summer. “We’re simplifying things, working on the right things in a way that helps you become a little bit calmer.”

According to Dimitrov, that can involve playing a match and then immediately going out to hone specific aspects of his game.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work, even after matches— working on small details, whether it’s backhand cross or backhand down the line—to try to make everything a little bit more automatic and lose yourself in the game,” he said.

“He’s determined to play the best tennis he can,” Vallverdu said. “During the past year he’s been struggling to find his own identity; he didn’t know which kind of player he was.”

Dimitrov and Vallverdu talk a lot about the Bulgarian’s “identity.” As a longtime prodigy sponsored by Nike, he tried too hard in the past to be a star, rather than just a player, and spread himself too thin.

“I have so many different interests in so many areas that sometimes I just need to chill, step back and let it be,” Dimitrov told ATPWorldTour.com.

Dimitrov, according to player and coach, was also spreading himself too thin on court. As was often said of the young Federer, Dimitrov had too many options; he needed to learn to pick the right one for the right occasion.

Once again, though, when it comes to shot selection, the differences in Dimitrov’s game from last year to this year are subtle. He’s using his backhand slice more, and more effectively. He’s doing more with his mid-court forehands when he gets them. He’s changing paces on his serve. But that doesn’t add up to a radical shift in his approach.

Mostly, I think there’s been a mindset change. When your coach says “keep it simple,” you tend to relax and play more instinctively. That alone is enough to help most players improve.

Dimitrov’s improvement could be seen most clearly at the end of the first set of his impressively one-sided 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 quarterfinal win over David Goffin, a player four spots ahead of him in the rankings.

The match was all even through the first seven games. The rallies were long, a fact that would normally favor Goffin. But it was Dimitrov who held firm, stayed patient and got his opponent to crack. With Goffin serving at 3-4, Dimitrov won a long game on his fourth break point.

In that rally, Dimitrov had a number of chances to go for an outright winner with his forehand from behind the baseline. The old Grigor would have pulled the trigger; after all, we’re always told that “being aggressive” is the only way to play. Instead, Dimitrov held his fire, sent a few forceful but safe rally balls back, and waited for something better. Goffin eventually missed, and Dimitrov never trailed again.

There’s a fine line between patience and passivity in tennis, and a fine line between using your weapons and overusing them. Dimitrov is learning to stay on the right side of both. It’s a subtle, almost invisible shift, but an exciting one. And it may be enough to give the boy once known as Baby Fed a new identity: Grand Slam champion.


Dimitrov says he's found his tennis identity; Could it be Slam champ? | TENNIS.com
CCTennis is offline  
post #758 of 758 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 02:09 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1,802
                     
Re: News & Articles about Grigor

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Grigor Dimitrov 27-01-17

Rafael Nadal def Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 5-7 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-4


Q. You've had a little bit of time to digest. What are your feelings after that epic match?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It's never easy to lose a match like that. I'm happy, though, with a lot of things. I'm going to stay positive and keep my head up high.

For sure Rafa deserves pretty much all the credit right now since he's such a fighter, such a competitor. At the same time it was an honor for me to play a match like that against him. It also shows me that I'm in a good way, I'm on the right path.

Yeah, I'm just trying to take all the positives out of this month in Australia. I'm sure I'm going to look back at that match and see what I could have done better.

But at least one thing I can say is that I left it all out on the court. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of my team. Proud of my coach. Everyone that has taken care of me that month, it's been super intense. We can relax for a little bit now and get back to work.

Q. Even if you lost, has this been the most exciting match you have been involved in in your career?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I would rate it one of those ones. I think it's the first time actually I'm playing a match over four and a half hours. I don't know if I've played more than that. So it's great. It's so nice to be part of it. Unfortunately not the way I wanted things to be.

On the other side, I had a super experience with that player, in the face of Rafa. As I said, I mean, he really shows why he's Rafa today.

Q. He said he felt tired, some wariness in the fifth set. You looked fresh in the fifth set. Talk about how you stood up to him physically.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Yeah, that's a good question. I felt good overall. Yeah, even if the fifth hour was passing by, I still felt that I had a lot of energy to go, which was nice for me.

Plus I've been staying up late, like, a lot of nights. I didn't feel sleepy or anything, which is a good sign. And physically it's been great. I'm just happy there was no cramping or anything like that, since I had quite a few notorious big cramps against him.

Yeah, I'm just happy that physically I was good. I felt that he was going, like, a little bit slower at some point. I mean, again, he's such an experienced player that he knew exactly what to do in those moments. I think that was the key. Especially the two breakpoints I had the fifth set. Even on the first one I felt I could have done maybe a little bit more with that shot, but I didn't really do it. Then he stepped in. I mean, this is what a great player does, you know, takes the momentum out of you. He did do an exceptional shot.

Yeah, but overall I'm very pleased with my fitness right now.

Q. You had three breakpoints.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Early on.

Q. Don't you think you were a bit unlucky when you lost your serve because there was a net cord that helped him.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, that's in the game. I cannot control the weather, the wind, the lines, let calls. It's just the way it is. I mean, I wish I could -- there's 10 other things I wish could have gone better for me in some of the sets, but it didn't.

Yeah, on that note there's not much else I can say, except I was just trying to focus on my game and what I was doing out on the court. It's as simple as that.

Q. How does the disappointment you're experiencing now compare to those in the past? Does the fact that you were so close tonight make it easier or harder?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I don't want to say -- for sure it's a disappointment to me, but I don't want to get too down on it because it's just my second Grand Slam semifinal. I'm building on that.

I'm sure I'm going to look back on that match. As I said, I'm going to see what I could have done better. That's also built up an experience. I really need to take the positives out of it.

I just don't want to put my head down for a second right now, especially when I'm feeling good, I'm competing great. Physically I'm getting there. Despite the disappointment, that's going to feed me, I think, for the upcoming events.

The one thing that's going to be hard for me the first three or four days, to really absorb that, like, Wow, I was so close. I need to appreciate it. At the same time I'm appreciating my run so far. It's been a great start of the year. It doesn't happen often that you come off from 10 matches in a row.

Yeah, in the same time I want to give myself a little bit of credit, just get on with it.

Q. Whatever the rankings may say, how well do you think you're playing at the moment? Top five, top eight?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I've never been a fan of those numbers. The game speaks for itself.

Q. Last year you beat him. He passed 30. He had tough games here. You played four and a half hours. 4-3, 40-15, five points from your first Grand Slam final, he comes up with big shots. Did you expect that?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Of course, it's what the greatest player do.

Q. Were you surprised how much you were able to dictate over the course of the match?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: No, I was not surprised at all because I had a clean game plan. I knew what I had to do. I knew what he would do, in a way. He changed the way he played against me I think last year, late last year in Beijing. He changed his pattern a little bit on his serve. I felt that right away.

But other than that, again, I was very focused on what I had to do. Whoever's on the other side, you know, they have their weapons, and you have your weapons. How the cards fall in the end, that's entirely up to the game.

Q. The Nadal-Federer rivalry is one of the greatest. You were in a position today to change history. Did that cross your mind at all that you could change history or create your own?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, who doesn't want to create history, especially when we are in such a competitive sport. Of course, everyone is going to see that final now. Including me, I'm going to watch it for sure.

It's super amazing. It's great for the sport again. But, you know, during the match you don't think about that kind of stuff. For me, again, just focused on what I had to do. This is what I've been doing the past month.

Q. Players don't like to make predictions, but considering the surface and the situation of Federer and Nadal, do you see one of those two as a favorite?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: We've seen all kind of scenarios in the past when those two are playing. It's not a place for me to comment on that, to be honest. I just know that two of the greatest players of tennis are going to square off on Sunday, and it's going to be a freakin' amazing match.

Q. Does it feel any different than Wimbledon 2014 when you were in the semis?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It felt familiar. I wasn't as nervous. I think Wimbledon, I was very nervous for a set and a half. I'm not going to lie. I was just nervous. Today I just woke up, Well, just another match, man. Like you're building up, and this is what my coach Daniel was telling me about. We were just trying to get on with the day, simple as that.

I think if you really aim higher and you expect more from yourself, you cannot allow yourself to think that way.

Q. You're not a big fan of stats, but did you ever lose a match with 79 winners?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I never looked at the stats, so I cannot answer that.

Q. You must have worked very hard to play the way you played tonight, so congratulations.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Thank you. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. Have a good one.


Grigor Dimitrov 27-01-17 - Australian Open Tennis Championships 2017 - Official Site by IBM
CCTennis is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the MensTennisForums.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome