There is no hiding from the fact that 2018 has been a tough year for Grigor Dimitrov. A player I have followed closely throughout his career I have been vocal on issues with his game whether it is his ground strokes or second serve however one thing I’d never doubt is his desire to be as good as he can or his ability to dig deep.
We are now at that stage of the year where for me Dimitrov is most dangerous. The hard court season coming into US Open is usually a little slow to begin with and then we head to Asia to Shanghai, Beijing etc… for big tournaments there.
I feel like his troubles on hard at the beginning of the season were a result of his success last year and the pressure he added. Clay isn’t ideal for his game but grass is and it was a confidence knock for him losing early in Queens to Novak and first round to Stan at Wimbledon!
In the headline I used the phrase ‘big win’ and people will look at that and think ‘oh, who did he beat? A big player?’ A big win doesn’t have to be a big player it can be a win against anyone who grinds but makes you work for it and Grigor showed that desire.
People will look at Grigor’s year and say won London in November then slumped, worst grass court season since 2010 for him personally but that’s just noise. Everyone slumps after a big win.
Now this is his time and I watched the first set of this one last night but I was super tired (stupid time difference) and I could feel the nerves early on being broken in his first game but he turned it around remained stubborn on the baseline and used his shots well against Verdasco.
An epic 35 shot rally to end the match epitomised Grigor’s tenacious character and the desire he has shown throughout his career.
Now this is the time to kick on. The target for me would be a good run going into New York but also I think we could say he would save his season with a deep run at Flushing Meadows or even getting to London. He is currently 1300 points off the pace so it will be incredibly tough.
Next up? Either Frances Tiafoe or Milos Raonic