Following the conclusion here in Paris it will be the end of Grigor Dimitrov’s season. He is taking most of the headlines this week with Andre Agassi in his corner but what can help the Bulgarian going forward?
I watched his opening round match against Agut which he won in straight sets and there was something that caught my eye.
Dimitrov doesn’t win many rallies under 4 shots, but why is that?
Top-spin is either good or bad like many shots in the sport you either pull it off or put yourself in danger depending on one thing, where the ball bounces.
Theoretically, lets go into the mind of Dimitrov on the baseline hitting that forehand with top-spin. Same starting position but different drop points on the court for the top-spin forehand.
The blue arrows the one which will get you in trouble, top spin dropped short on the court gives the opponent time to be able to adjust their body and move around the court where as the orange line gives you little time to react to the top spin.
Against Cilic in the first day today the stats were;
Under 4 shots – Cilic 34 / Dimitrov 24
Over 7 shots – Cilic 1 / Dimitrov 7
You can argue he won the longer rallies but he isn’t winning the ones that matter and 10 more rallies one in that short gap of 4 or less points is massive in any match statistically and mentally.
I think Dimitrov would benefit from hitting the ball a bit flatter however to do this you require confidence to start with and without that fearless streak in your game the what is seen as a ‘safe route’ is actually not benefitting the Bulgarian which probably doesn’t make him feel any better.
The top-spin is making rallies longer but isn’t making Dimitrov more dangerous and neither is the backhand slice. The slice is a good shot to utilise but being effective with it is the most difficult thing.
You can understand Dimitrov being hesitant as he has dropped off massively this year but I do think it is time to just take the risk and in the off season this has to be worked on and discussed with his team because he will not get back into the top 10 without a change and how long will Agassi be here for?