Early Life and start of Professional Career
Grigor Dimitrov is a well known player at this point in his Career, you may know him as Baby Federer or simply as being known for his good looks and strong following on social media. Hailing from Haskovo, Bulgaria Dimitrov’s father was a tennis coach, his dad became a strong influence on him and he began playing daily from age 5. Dimi would leave his dad as coach and become a pro at the age of 16.
Grigor earned the name Baby Fed in 2008 when he won Junior Wimbledon and then followed it up with another championship at the Junior US open the same year. This obviously got the eyes of the media and they pegged him the next great. Grigor ended up attending the now famous Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in 2009 where he would eventually appoint Patrick as his coach in 2012.
Keep in mind this was prior to Patrick’s historic run with Serena Williams that ensued the same season. Serena and Patrick would go on to win 10 Major Titles. Got to wonder what would have been had him and the brilliant mind of Patrick could have achieved in those years.
Style of Play
Grigor has one of the best slice backhands on tour along with a serve that is quite reminiscent of the Roger Federer platform serve. His playing style is eerily similar to Federer, despite learning from his dad at an early age. Federer is only 9 years older then Grigor.
I like to think Grigor was the bridge to the younger fans that may not have seen prime Federer, especially those fascinated by a pure one handed backhand. It seemed for a period of time that the one handed backhand was going to disappear.
Grigor helped show the tennis world that you can have high level of success on tour with the oney which led to the likes of young stars like Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Lorenzo Musetti adopting the more fluid, natural one handed backhand.
As a highly touted junior, the mainstream media paints Dimitrov's career to be largely unsuccessful. In my eyes it's unfair to judge others' careers in the years from 2008 - present when the Big 3 ended up as the top three players of all-time. One could say that 99% of the tour has underachieved if that is the standard they are held to. Excluding the 2019 Wimbledon and grand slams in 2023 there have been 59 slam events played since 2008. Of those 59 slams, 49 of them were won by someone in the Big 3.
Dimitrov has over 300 match wins, has won 8 Titles, including an ATP Finals and garnered $22,730,409 in prize money.
One staggering stat that should not be overlooked is he holds the record for the longest active streak of grand slam appearances at 49 in a row. Talk about durability and holding a level of play. Grigor has made it to the semifinal in 3 out of the 4 slams as well.I don’t think he sees himself as unsuccessful and neither should the rest of the world.
At age 32, his level has begun to descend a bit despite making it to the Round of 16 at the French Open. His current coach Daniel Vallverdú has brought an emphasis on mastering 3 things, the serve, forehand and net game. In the past, Grigor has focused on his excellent backhand slice to set up his forehand but it hasn't led to the results most fans and analysts expected from someone who has the skill Dimi possesses. That is why Vallverdú is trying to get Grigor to find that forehand often and early on the ad side of the court, taking more risks and hitting bigger. Grigor has seen success with this, reaching the second week in Paris, as well as the finals the week before in Geneva.