Cramping Dimitrov Stuns Djokovic For Biggest Career Win; Federer, Murray Cruise, Nadal Wednesday In Madrid
by Staff | May 8th, 2013, 12:08 am

Rising star Grigor Dimitrov notched the best win of his young career downing world No. 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic Wednesday in the second round of the Madrid Masters. The Bulgarian Dimitrov whose game resembles Roger Federer’s, was just 2-19 career vs. Top 10 players entering the match with the Monte Carlo champion Djokovic, but after struggling with cramps he walked away with the crowd’s favor, red dirt caked on his clothes and the pure taste of victory 7-6(6), 6-7(8), 6-3.

“Of course this has been what I’ve been working for, to play matches like that, and why not win them?” said Dimitrov who had lost in three to Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo last month. “Today was one of these days that I felt good on court. I felt I had enough hours of practice in the weeks before. I felt that I could actually hang with Novak the whole match. That’s the whole purpose of getting ready for big events and eventually for big matches.”

And Dimitrov did just that, hung with Djokovic. Grigor actually led a set and a break before Djokovic turned that ailing right again late in the second with break points. After an 8-minute or so MTO, Djokovic returned but was unable to convert the break. But Dimitrov began to severely cramp and was unable to serve out the match. As Djokovic gained steam and confidence, shaking off any ankle concerns, it looked bleak for Dimitrov.

Down 5-2 in the second set break, the cramps seemed to subside and Dimitrov regained some footing. He squandered a matchpoint but had found some momentum and had the crowd who turned on Novak heading into the third. And he struck immediately breaking a listless Djokovic to open the final set. It was the only break he needed.

“I thought the tie-break was pretty intense obviously,” said Dimitrov. “He stepped up on a few shots. He’s Novak. In the end of the day, you can expect anything from him. He played a great tie-break, so I couldn’t do much… Of course I tried to stay really positive. I believed in myself. I think that was the big sparkle coming into the third set.”

Dimitrov, who turns 22 in two weeks, is the youngest player to beat a No. 1 since a 21-year-old Kei Nishikori also beat Djokovic at 2011 Basel. He’ll now have to regroup for another tough test in the next round on Thursday likely against an in-form Stan Wawrinka.

“It’s a great win for me. Good day at the office. I know it’s a big thing, of course. But you got to stay on the ground. Hopefully you’re going to face these guys for years. You never know how it’s going to be next time,” Dimitrov said. “You got to be ready and try to work at it every day and see it as just another test to do and something exciting to look forward.”

For Djokovic, the loss was his earliest exit of the season and suddenly cast some doubt as to his chances in Paris especially with the ankle again a concern and little time now for rest with Rome next week.

“I thought it was the right decision because, luckily for me, nothing really happened when I twisted the ankle during the match,” Djokovic said. “It was a slight moment. I had good protection on my ankle. So right now that is the only positive thing that I look into, is that I didn’t injure my ankle worse before Rome and Paris.”

Djokovic admitted he oddly hadn’t played in 12 days since his big Monte Carlo title over Nadal, and at times during the match he looked far from his usual self.

“For 12 days after Monte Carlo, I haven’t touched the racquet,” he revealed. “I didn’t prepare myself so well. But I’m not trying to find any excuses for the loss. I tried to do my best… All the credit also to Dimitrov, because he was the better player on the court. He was striking the ball really well, serving great, changing the pace and he deserved to win.”

Novak had won the title in his last appearance at the tournament when it was played on red clay in 2011.

Djokovic’s countryman Janko Tipsarevic, who beat him last year in Madrid, continued his struggles losing to Juan Monaco. Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic were also upset by Spaniards Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Fernando Verdasco, respectively.

Defending champion Roger Federer made a successful return to tennis. After a 54 day hiatus, Federer routed Radek Stepenak 6-3, 6-3.

“I didn’t think I played incredible, but that’s not what I was expecting myself to do here. But I didn’t play bad, either,” said Federer. “So I’m very happy with how things went today. Stepanek is a player who can cause a lot of difficulties in the game. He has caused me difficulties in the past. Today that wasn’t the case. I thought I was pretty much in control.”

Andy Murray followed the Swiss with tough yet strong win over Florian Mayer in two tiebreakers for his 400th career match victory. “It’s always difficult playing your first match at altitude,” said Murray who was down a break for much of the second set. “I felt like I hit the ball very well today, very few miss-hits. I just didn’t return so well. That was the only thing I would have liked to have done better. I moved very well, which I didn’t do in Monte Carlo, so that’s a big improvement.”

Murray moves on to face Gilles Simon on Thursday.

In the women’s field, after having to endure boyfriend Dimitrov’s 3-hour, 5-minute epic – the longest 3-setter on the men’s tour this season – Maria Sharapova crushed Christina McHale 6-1, 6-2 as the clock struck midnight. “It was important to be ready and start quickly, especially since we started so late,” Sharapova said. “I knew I had to be focused from the very beginning, and I think I did a good job with that today.”

Fellow Slam winners/No. 1s Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic were also easy winners on the day.

On tap tomorrow, Spanish favorites Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer are in action along with Victoria Azarenka and in maybe the best match on the card 2012 finalist Tomas Berdych takes on Jerzy Janowicz.

With Djokovic’s loss, Nadal can really tighten the No. 1 race this week with a title and now if he wins both Madrid and Rome he’ll have the 2013 points lead heading into the French.

MANOLO SANTANA start 10:50 am
K Kanepi (EST) vs C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA
[3] V Azarenka (BLR) vs E Makarova (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 3:15 PM
[5] R Nadal (ESP) vs B Paire (FRA) – ATP
[Q] R Haase (NED) vs [7] J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 8:00 PM
D Istomin (UZB) vs [4] D Ferrer (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 9:30 PM
[16] A Ivanovic (SRB) vs L Robson (GBR) – WTA

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49 Comments for Cramping Dimitrov Stuns Djokovic For Biggest Career Win; Federer, Murray Cruise, Nadal Wednesday In Madrid

roy Says:

now imagine dimitrov had beaten nadal.

we’d be hearing about how nadal can’t play madrid because it’s fast and nadal is useless when conditions are fast. and that’s why madrid is so great because it’s fast and the aggressive players are rewarded for playing fast. and federer won there because it’s fast and it rewards players who play properly and really fast. like federer who would win everything if it was fast. like madrid which is fast. and that’s great because we can punish nadal, who can’t play against the others when it’s fast (even though he only overcame djoker at the french because conditions went from wet to sunny and slow to fast). and madrid is gonna reward all the proper players because it’s so djokovic too, who can play so fast. he’s gonna be rewarded by the fast conditions, the fast conditions for fast players…


”Down 5-2 in the second set break, the cramps seemed to subside”

dimitrov cramps against nadal in a relatively short match and now cramps in the second set here?
let’s quit talking about this guy as a legit threat until he can make it through an intense 3 set match without cramping. grand slams have 5.

queen Says:

Ha ha Roy love your post!

skeezer Says:

Dear rafa lover…errr ROY.

Me thinks you have it wrong. Notice Nole fans have been respectively quiet, and more importantly have given no excuses for his loss, and in fact, said the better man won today. Do Rafafanatics ever say the same? Not! Quit hiding and shifting the ownage of it all.

And despite this, you bring in Federer. Why? Cause you simply can’t stand the fact that he wins on fast, slow, medium, potholes, airport runways and somehow someway accumulates 17 Grand Slam titles, an all time historical record.

The Rafa Fanatic Defense System is activated and in effect. Screw all the other players on tour.

nadalista Says:

“………Notice Nole fans have been respectively quiet,”

One or two yes, the rest are quiet because they are still in shock and/or are still recovering from a whisky-sodden stupor, the better for numbing pain!

What excuse can anyone possibly give for yesterday’s shocker, none! Djokovic had a shocker, a cramping Dimitrov on his last legs capitalised, end of.

Novak lost a match, so what? Unlike Novak fans who went on crazed hysterical binges when Rafa lost a match at MC, we Rafans know that tennis pros lose matches all the time, nothing to go mad over. But then again, they hold Rafa in such high esteem when their man beats him they go delirious. For us, we hold their man in such high esteem we know when he loses one match it is just that, one loss, nothing important, nothing changes.

Hopefully, some of those Novak fans who deliriously rushed to proclaim him the new King of Clay after MC were woken up by a loud thud yesterday, the sound of their posteriors coming down to earth.

As for Dimitrov, until he can show he can go for 2 sets without cramping, I am not holding my breath.

Shamon! (thanks skeezer for letting me appropriate your rallying cry, you approve, no?)

Today, the REAL King of Clay is in the house.


Adam Says:

you cant make an excuse and then say, “but i’m not trying to make any excuses.”

Dimitrov needs to take some time off at some point and work on his fitness. second time hes cramped in two tournaments. its only best of three sets. you gotta be fitter than that.

Ahsan Najeeb Says:

Commiserations to all Nole fans but you should take pleasure from the fact all Rafans cant hide their joy on this result which clearly suggests that they did not want another Rafa Novak final…

courbon Says:

@ nadalista: Yesterday better man won.All nole fans that I know here ( Wog Boy, jane, Mat 4, Michael, harry…) did not go delirious after MC.Don’t forget that lots of Fed fans use Novaks achivments to wind up Rafas fans.(and Jamie?Well, Jamie is just Jamie…).Anybody with a little sense knows that Rafas is still best clay court player in the world ( and not only clay-2 Wimbeldons?Not a fluke is it? ).All the best to your man for the rest of the tournament.

Giles Says:

Is joker the world no. 1? Well, godammit you could have fooled me. He doesn’t fulfil his status as such. Telling the crowd “SMD” ( everybody knows the acronym by now), is that becoming of a world no. 1 who is supposed to be a role model? I don’t think so. As I said before and I will repeat myself, joker is the worst world no. 1 ever. He needs to clean up his “act” if he wants to gain respect and affection from one and all! Shame on you joker!

oromis Says:

the way novak cursed the madrid crowd..he was hurting himself…#not impressed

rafaeli Says:



Mila Says:

Once you take your head out of Nadal’s a$$, ask yourself a question – what is worse behaviour: telling the rude audience to SMD or bumping your opponent on changeover?

See the end of the match again (if you can take your head out of Rafa’s a$$) and see embrace at the net between Novak and Grigor and entire Novak’s team and his brothers standing and applauding Grigor. Would Uncle Toni do such a thing? No way. If he could he would order the opponent destroyed same as those blood samples in Spanish doping trial.

You talk about role models and class. Good that your head is mostly in the place where there is not much air (see above) and you cannot talk to much. Otherwise, we would be suffering your nonsense like the beginning question of your post “Is Joker the world no.1?” Well, duh… is he? You tell us, please. Last time I checked he had 7000 points more than Rafael…

volley Says:

i can well recall rafa fans such as nadalista saying “rafa lost a match, so what?” particularly after the rosol match. oh wait, did i dream that?

noogie Says:

A pity we have so many Rafa hooligans on site. Reminds me of the british soccer hooligans. Never mind that Novak lost. He will raise his level anytime he plays Rafa anyway. No big deal.

I personally think rafaelli, roy, giles and the likes of this low class intellectual group share the same brain. Just classless.

Rsutherland Says:

Dimitrov’s attitude is impressive equal to his win…and hopeful for his future. “Good day at the office” indeed.
I love how the player’s attitudes are so much more real than the fans’.
Oh, and Skeezer. You must be a Freemason. Your obsession with the number 17 may be because it represents a personal trilogy: your age, Federer’s major count and your IQ (and in the order of which is most likely to augment).

djoko Says:

Nobody uploaded the videos when djokovic tried to cheat in this match yet. I can confirm three occasions when he tried showing wrong marks.

Reminded me of AO 2013.

Wog boy Says:

I am pretty sure in this link @1:32 we can see how classy Toni Nadal is ducking out of Wimbledon Arena, not that he didn’t congratulate Rosol but he didn’t even stay to suport his nephew when he probably needed him the most.
As for SMD, well they didn’t have to do it, did they? It was classy thing to say for classy crowd. We have saying ” Prema Svecu i Tropar.” Do google translate.

Giles Says:

Where was Jelena when he said “SMD”? It should have been directed at her, not the Madrid crowd!! # NoControl

Giles Says:

5.57 am post. Yep, maybe Toni should have hugged Rosol (joker pretentious style) in Wimbledon. Tut tut Toni, where are your manners?

jane Says:

What is with all this atavistic name-calling? And how on earth does “classy” figure into it? Jeez!

Nole will bounce back. Dimitrov was threatening to get a big win, having pushed Nole, Andy and Rafa in all of their latest matches. So it isn’t that much of a shocker. And he was pushed right to the limit, too. It’s not like he won easily.

Will be curious to see how Gregor does over five sets.

Wog boy, don’t even. No one will get through to some people. They just dislike.

courbon Says:

@ Jane: There is a lots of kids on this site, hence silly posts and supressed anger and similiair…just ignore it.
A, yes…the classy word. It makes me laugh…also I like the fraze ‘role model’.We have PARENTS!!!That should be your role models not sportsman…
Novak deservedly lost-he did not prepared for Madrid at all-which is bit arrogant and he got whipped.He got the lesson.Lets see what he will do in Rome.

Ben Pronin Says:

Again, Dimitrov’s fitness isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s not like he’s cramping against everyone, all the time. He cramped playing against Djokovic and Nadal on clay. Against Nadal, even with what seemed like a straight forward scoreline in each set, it’s still extremely physical. Nadal knows how to work an opponent on clay better than anyone. And Djokovic isn’t far off. especially considering how long those 2 sets were, and how physical, it’s not surprise Dimitrov had some issues. But they also wore off and he ended up winning, so it’s not like he’s incapable of overcoming physical ailments. It could also be a structural thing in his body, he cramped in the same spot both times, it happens. Maybe he’s doing the wrong exercise in the gym, also a possibility. Doesn’t mean he’s simply not fit. It’s not like he’s never won a best-of-5 set match. And most importantly, he still won yesterday!

rafaeli Says:

Mila Says:
“Once you take your head out of Nadal’s a$$, ask yourself a question – what is worse behaviour: telling the rude audience to SMD or bumping your opponent on changeover?”

If you don’t know the difference it’s not worth telling you.

skeezer Says:

“The Rafa Fanatic Defense System is activated and in effect. Screw all the other players on tour.”

Told ya all it was gonna happen. Easily predicted from this group of posters.


Giles Says:

^^^ What excuses you clown?

skeezer Says:

Re; Dimitriv fitness. Ever thought maybe he is fit but lacks proper nutrition? (Diet)

skeezer Says:

^Dimitrov, sorry.

Ngentot Says:

@certain Rafa’s fans i.e Giles / Fleischer, Roy, Rafaeli and the likes:

You guys are beyond ridiculous. Your hatred towords Novak seems incurable. I understand that you guys are frustrated by the fact that Novak has proved that he can defeat Nadal on clay again. But Rafa hasn’t proved that he can actually beat Novak off of clay again (been more than two years).

So, instead of spreading your hatred all over the place, why don’t you wait until Nadal finally proves that he can still beat Novak outside clay court? Only then you can claim that Nadal is better than Novak. As of now, Novak has proved that he is indeed still in Rafa’s head: deal with it.

Alex Says:

Exactly, learn some respect!

Also watch womans Volley ball…


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeezer, maybe. But he doesn’t seem to be carrying any extra fat. Maybe he’s just not drinking enough water.

I think it’s funny to criticize his fitness after he won a 3 hour match on clay against arguably the fittest guy on tour.

skeezer Says:

^yep, for sure. Forgot to add someone told me stress can cause you to get cramps earlier tha expected also. Ever heard of that? He is young, big match aginst a #1, muscles over tighten over time…just thinkin out loud here. There are other reasons to get cramps than the usual thought. I don’t know about you, but when I cramped up I could never continue, din’t know how these guys play through cramps….

Ben Pronin Says:

Skeeze, for sure. That’s why Djokovic used to retire and so flagged for it. When the mind isn’t healthy, the body becomes unhealthy. Tightening up is mental and physical. Not always, but surely yesterday could have been one of those times.

Aon Says:

i suspect that @ Mila , @ Volley , @ Noogie are same person, no ? lol

volley Says:


queen Says:

Thanks for the cramping explanation doctor skeezer;)

jamie Says:

Doesn’t matter.

Djokovic will be the winner of Rome and Roland Garros.

You heard it here first.

harry Says:


“Nole will bounce back.”
Hope so! I think the loss itself is not be such a bad thing (as many others noted here) as the reality that the ankle still rankles him :)

“Dimitrov was threatening to get a big win, having pushed Nole, Andy and Rafa in all of their latest matches. So it isn’t that much of a shocker.”
Yes, Dimi looked impressive… It was a very tough first round opponent :-)

My2c re “Baby Fed”: Actually this is the first time I watched Dimi for an extended time. I think his comparison to Fed is exaggerated too much by writers and commentators. Sure, his shots look very similar to Fed’s but his point construction appears very different to Fed’s. Fed tries to move forward, whereas Dimi appears happier at the baseline than at the net. It will be great to know what you people make of that.

harry Says:

^— “loss itself is not be such a bad thing” –> “loss itself is not such a bad thing”

skeezer Says:

@ queen

Shhh you just found out my secret. Dr. of Nothing, Nurse of nobody ;)

You don’t need Doctor explanation if you’ve had cramps playing tennis, you know pretty much what it is all about, trust me.

queen Says:

Here she goes again. Jaime please shut up!

Bada Bing Says:

Here’s Sharapova swearing at RG crowd. It’s a good one.

Wog boy Says:

^^ She looks hot when she is upset;)

andrea Says:

cool. hopefully we have an up and coming player that lives up to his potential. cilic, roanic et al….take note.

Michael Says:

Really, it is a big shock. I expected Novak to do reasonably well on this court considering that the pace suits his kind of play. But he has succumbed to Dmitrov of all. By this, I am not belittling Dmitrov. All that I am saying is that Novak has no business to lose to such players and that too in the initial round. This year, Novak has looked a bit edgy falling in the early rounds of Indian Wells, Miami and here. Ofcourse he did beat Rafa at Monte Carlo which is special, but somehow he is not consistent. I do not know how he will take this loss ? But being a gritty fighter, I am confident that he will bounce back strongly in the next tournament ie. Rome. Now that Novak is out of the picture, Nadal might go on to win Madrid to compensate his loss in Monte Carlo.

alison Says:

Just managed to gain access to a computer so i will send a quick post,a great win for Grigor as everyone says hes been knocking on the door so a win like this was just around the corner,sorry to all the lovely Novak fans he will bounce back,if thats the word to use as hes world no 1 and all players loose at some point anyway,sorry but i have to say his SMD comment towards the crowd was uncalled for although having said that the crowd were bang out out of order booing Nole simply be because he beat Rafa,however lets not kid ourselves here if Roger or Rafa had said the same thing i could only imagine the comments on this forum then,but dont get me wrong im not saying either of them are perfect by a long chalk,anyway hope Grigor can back up this result,and i hope Noles ankle is fine,my two cents over and out for now,take care all.

alison Says:

^Simply because,not simply be because^.

Giles Says:

alison. Firstly welcome back. Regarding your comment “the crowd were bang out of order booing Nole simply because he beat Rafa…..”. How can you surmise the reason for the crowd’s booing? Could it perhaps be that the crowd just don’t warm to him, his gamesmanship and all his famous on court antics, MTO’s etc? His “SMD” comment was completely uncalled for no matter what. The French crowd constantly boo Rafa at the FO. Does he swear at the crowd? Wonder what the press would make of that! It would never of course happen, Rafa is too classy a professional. At the end of the day one can’t control the crowd and their feelings for and against players, but a player can indeed control himself. He deserved all the booing he received. Great no. 1 (NOT).
# MasterOfGamesmanship

Michael Says:

Alison, Welcome back !!

SG1 Says:

Chang cramped up against Lendl but still beat him. I’d still rather have Lendl’s career than Chang’s.

Michael Says:

I think the Madrid title is for the taking for Rafa. He should win this one with ease. I am not seeing anybody who can beat him. Has anybody in history shown such invincibility on Clay courts ?

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