Grigor Dimitrov has started the year by winning two tournaments (Brisbane and Sofia) and losing only one match, to Rafael Nadal after FIVE spellbinding sets of tennis. The Bulgarian who early on in his career often was described as baby Federer, has in later years been haunted by the word “underachiever”. But with coach Dani Vallverdu in his team something seems to have clicked and the “Grisha” is playing better than ever.
My fellow “racquetholics” are talking about Dimitrov going back to his 18×17 string pattern 93-inch racquet that he used before, instead of the model he currently endorses: the Wilson Pro Staff 97S and it’s possible that the extra control and racquet head speed he gets from the smaller head size makes him feel more in control of his shots and more confident to hit them. What’s definitely evident is that he’s hitting few unforced errors and more controlled winners, similar to Federer.
It’s refreshing that the tour seems to be undergoing some changes after the Djokovic (and partly Murray) dominance of the last few years. Now we have Federer and Nadal back in the fray, Dimitrov is playing remarkably well (and has an aesthetically pleasing playing style in my humble opinion) and young Alexander Zverev seems to be the new kid on the block with his recent win in Open Sud de France.
So what does Dimitrov’s recent results mean for the rest of the season? Well, I wouldn’t except a lot from him on clay, but on faster surfaces he will be dangerous and although I don’t think he’ll go all the way to win a grand slam, but he should definitely become a more stable presence in the top 10 (he’s currently ranked 12).
I think Dimitrov has at least one grand slam in him, but it’s of course hard to see the kind of dominance that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic has shown in the prime. But who knows, maybe it’s in 2017 it all starts? Maybe this is going to be Dimitrov’s year?
PS. On a sidenote, big congrats to 36-year-old Estrella Burgos who got back inside top 100 with his third consecutive Ecuador Open title. He fought hard all week and deserves the title. And it’s always nice to see the “older” guys be able to still play really high level tennis. DS.