Grigor Dimitrov lived with a label for quite some time, that label was ‘Baby Fed’ and I think it is fair to say the Bulgarian has shook it off and it’s been tough and now he faces what I’d call his biggest ever challenge against the main man Roger Federer.
Dimitrov’s game back a few years ago was likened to that of Federer’s with the way he approached many shots and when you are then labelled with the caption of the next big thing as well it can be tough.
At the beginning of the season I think it’s fair to say that Grigor was the form player on the tour winning 15 of his 16 tour matches and winning two titles and his game has definitely improved but during the clay court season it didn’t work out for him as his style of play doesn’t adapt well to some of the slow conditions on the European clay courts but on the grass the speed of the courts allows him to use his full weapons to great extent.
Back in February I wrote about Dimitrov’s game and how he uses a slice serve down the T to help himself, the flicked forehand, backhand slice and of course the one handed backhand but on these fast courts at Wimbledon he has to try and boss rallies from the baseline and the way of beginning that process is with that inside out forehand.
You can see above Dimitrov playing it against Gasquet in Melbourne. Worst case scenario for Dimitrov going for this shot against Federer is that the former champion might be able to get a slice racket on it to pro-long points and plant that seed of doubt in rallies but also Grigor cannot afford to go to slow with the shot as if Federer times well enough he could fire that backhand down the line.
This will be tough for Grigor but I feel over 5 sets it is do-able, a good start is essential for Grigor as going down an early break could cost him once Federer gets into a rhythm it’s tough to get out of.