The rise of Grigor Dimitrov
Grigor Dimitrov first made himself known to Australia at the 2012 Hopman Cup, where he represented his home country Bulgaria. One year later Dimitrov impressed again with a finals appearance at the Brisbane International.
7 May 2013, Dimitrov announced himself to the world, defeating world number one Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Madrid Open.
At only 21 years of age, Dimitrov has shown his talents to the tennis world, and is an exciting player to keep an eye on over the next few seasons.
Grigor was born in Haskovo, Bulgaria, in 1991. With a tennis coach as a father and a sports teacher for a mother, Dimitrov was destined to be a great sports star.
As a teenager, Grigor moved to France to train at the Patrick Mouratoglou’s tennis academy. Dimitrov won junior Wimbledon and the US Open in 2008, and also appeared in his first ATP tournament that year.
Dimitrov spent much of 2009 and 10 as a challenger, and gained wild-card entries into a number of major tournaments
After reaching the 2011 AEGON International doubles final, with partner Andreas Seppi, Gregor became the first Bulgarian to make an ATP final. Unfortunately the two lost 6-3, 6-3 to Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.
2012 started brightly for Dimitrov, who represented Bulgaria at the Hopman Cup alongside Tsvetana Pironkova. Bulgaria finished their group in second, with Dimitrov defeating Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen and the USA’s Mardy Fish.
Grigor reached three ATP semi-finals in 2012, becoming the first Bulgarian to even make one, but failed to progress through to any finals.
Dimitrov reached his first ATP semi-final at the 2012 AEGON Championships, after defeating Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 7-5, Gilles Muller 7-6, 6-4, Nicolas Mahut 7-6, 6-4 and Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Argentine David Nalbandian knocked Grigor out at the semi-final stage.
Dimitrov made his second semi-final at the 2012 Swedish Open. Once again Grigor failed to progress, losing to David Ferrer in two sets.
Dimitrov’s third semi-final came at the 2012 Swiss Open, losing to Thomaz Bellucci.
Grigor represented his country again at the 2012 Olympics in Wimbledon, but lost in the second round. Dimitrov ended the year with an ATP ranking of 48.
Dimitrov made his first ATP final at the 2013 Brisbane International. Andy Murray proved too strong for Dimitrov, who lost 7-6, 6-4 to the Scot.
Dimitrov continued to impress in early 2013, reaching the semi-final in Rotterdam and quarterfinals in Monte Carlo.
After winning his first round match against Javier Marti at the Madrdi Open, Dimitrov set up a second round clash with world number one Novak Djokovic.
With the first two sets going to tie breakers, Djokovic and Dimitrov winning one each, the match was levelled and headed into an exciting final set.
After three hours and four minutes of tennis, Grigor notched the most impressive win of his career.
The crowd really got behind Dimitrov, and it may have taken until after 11pm, but Grigor won the third set 6-3.
After such an intensely physical match, Dimitrov suffering from cramps and Novak rolling his ankle, Stanislas Wawrinka knocked Dimitrov out of the third round in three sets.
But Grigor has shown himself to be a rising star, undoubtedly on the verge of a major breakthrough.
Dimitrov’s next tournament will be at the Italian Open, which begins in Rome next week.