Grigor Dimitrov: I’m A Bit Shattered, I Came Out Expecting Nothing Less Than To Win
by Tom Gainey | January 22nd, 2014, 7:43 am
  • 17 Comments

Grigor Dimitrov’s 2014 Australian Open ended today as the Bulgarian talent lost to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 36, 76, 76, 62 in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Dimitrov pushed Nadal in this their fourth meeting, again earning a set and even holding a set point in the third set tiebreak. But his upset bid fell just short against the 13-time Grand Slam champion.

Playing in his first career Slam quarterfinal, Dimitrov still played some excellent tennis and once he gets physically and mentally stronger he has the makings of a future Grand Slam winner.

The loss left Dimitrov teary-eyed on the court. Afterward the 22-year-old spoke to the press about his emotions.

Q. Do you think you’ll look back on this match as an opportunity that got away or a step forward in your progression?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Well, there’s a lot of mixed feelings right now. I’m a bit shattered. It’s tough losing that match, my first quarterfinal. I came out expecting nothing less than to win.

All the credit to Rafa. He’s been a tremendous competitor, great guy off the court. We had a great battles the past year and now again, and hopefully in the future more.

The one thing I’m really excited is to actually get back on the court in the upcoming weeks and start working and come up to the same stage and try to do it again.

Of course I’m deeply disappointed. I mean, I’m not going to lie. But, you know, in the end of the day I have to take the positives and the negatives out of the match and just kind of move on.

Happy with the situation at the moment. Again, all the credit to Rafa. I think he played a great match. Also his physicality came over towards the end of the match. He’s not one of the best, I think he’s the best player right now.

Hopefully we’re going to have more battles in the future together.

Q. You exchanged some words at the net with him. What did he say to you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I mean, I don’t want to say what he told me. The one thing is we have tons of respect for each other, again, on and off the court. You know, he just wished me luck and, of course, all those things.

In the end of the day I know I’m going to play him again. We have a lot of jokes here and there with him, but that’s great. Of course, congrats to him and I think the team. That’s just how it goes in the slams, in matches like this.

You know, he’s a good man.

Q. What have these two weeks done for your confidence and belief going forward?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Confidence, yeah, obviously always going to be there in a way. It’s one thing you’ve worked so hard and you kind of get rewarded a little bit, you know, coming to that first quarterfinal to me was, of course, big.

But I had expectations for myself. That wasn’t just to go out there and play. So, you know, that’s to me the biggest disappointment, the negative part of it, of course.

But in the end of the day, you know, I want to get to that position again, quarters, semis, final, whatever it is, any big tournament. That’s my goal. That’s why I’m actually excited to get on court in the upcoming weeks.

Of course I shed a few tears, but it should hurt. It should hurt. And it does hurt, so…

You know, I can take a lot of things, but at the moment I’m just a bit all over the place, yeah.

Q. Going into that fourth set having lost the last two tiebreaks so closely, how hard was it to go into that fourth set?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Not easy. Not easy. I felt that he actually stepped up his game a little bit more. Again, his physicality came in even more. He held his ground better in the fourth set.

Even though I felt I had gaps here and there, he was never letting me take a charge of the point or any of his service games. He actually served really good in the fourth. We both struggled a little bit here and there occasionally, but that’s in the game.

Again, I think, I mean, it’s just different when you play against Rafa than any other players. In a way you know what to expect. Even though you know what to expect, sometimes it still goes his way.

But I’m excited. I’m excited. I think in a way the fourth set could have gone either way. Depends of the start. But, you know, the outcome wasn’t very positive for me.

Q. Rafa said after the match that you have all the qualities to become a great champion. Do words like that mean something to you?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: It’s nice to hear. It’s nice to hear, you know. I’m flattered. But till it actually happens, even if you say it, it doesn’t justify the presence [sic]. We know each other, me and him.

Again, tons of respect for each other. I appreciate what he said, of course. But I think I still have a long way to go out there and I need to improve. I need to improve every day. I felt that, you know, those two weeks, even though I haven’t played my best tennis throughout the whole weeks, I still felt I’ve improved.

Actually the work that I’ve done in the past months, it actually comes in. To me, at that stage, at that point, that’s the most important thing. It’s good to refresh a little bit and get back.

Q. You mentioned his physicality in the fourth set. Do you see that’s an area of your game you still need to improve?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: I think in a way. I think every player, if you just look around, you know, you need your legs. That’s basically just what it is nowadays. The game has become so physical throughout all the years. You know only the strong guys are surviving.

You see up in the last eight out here, I mean, all those guys are Grand Slam champions. They’re experienced guys. They’re strong guys. Of course, everything has to, of course, build up and take its toll until you actually reach that stage.

But of course, I mean, I have areas. I know I have areas that I can definitely improve even more. I think it’s just what I have right now is still work in progress. When I come out on the court or in the gym every day, I don’t work for the day after. I look in the future.

At the end of the day, tennis is not a sprint. It’s a marathon sport. You play five sets here, best of five. You know, it’s always nice to see where you’re at, especially in events like that.

Q. If you had that forehand again on the set point…
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Go out there now.

Q. Sorry. Would you go the same way? Were you worried about his forehand?
GRIGOR DIMITROV: Which one?

Q. Second set.
GRIGOR DIMITROV: What about the first? I’m more mad about the first one.

What can I say? It hurts. You know, I’m happy that I took the decision. Once you take decision, never look back. Same thing in life: you make mistakes, you make mistakes. It’s in the past.

Obviously I got to put that in the past. You know, it’s just a tough shot, you know (tearing up). It’s a tough choice. I’m sure I could have done something different. I’m sure I could have done something different.

But in a match everything comes down to a split of a second. You know, it’s whether in or out.


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17 Comments for Grigor Dimitrov: I’m A Bit Shattered, I Came Out Expecting Nothing Less Than To Win

Michael Says:

Dimitrov should be cursing himself for missing so easy shots in the tie break which are critical and make a difference between winning and losing. Against a player like Rafa, you must take all the chances as they come. But Dimitrov cracked and shanked in important moments and made life easier for Rafa. I am not sure whether he will get another good opportunity against Rafa ?


Michael Says:

Dimitrov has the greatest respect for Rafa and he should take a leaf out of him as to how to keep your nerves in crucial moments of the match. If he can emulate that, for sure he can become a Champion.


Ben Pronin Says:

Love the attitude. His inexperience showed but he played great all things considered. He needs to pick up some titles then his confidence will be better for these situations.


Polo Says:

That’s a good attitude after a loss. He did better than I expected and from this interview, the loss seems to have a very positive effect on Grigor. He just had a great learning experience in that match with Nadal. If he can improve after that, he will do well in the future.


andrea Says:

didn’t watch the last set but i was tired just watching them run everywhere. fed is going to have his work cut out for him.


WTF Says:

He almost beat Rafa and could have done it in straights. I think he has a bright future ahead of him, and a lot of positives to take from this.

Some day he will beat Rafa.

He shouldn’t beat himself up over it.

Wawrinka and Murray have had many heartbreaking losses in a row against Nole, but they took only the positives from those losses, and saw it as making ground on him. Eventually they they got their win on him. (Stan has to not squander this opportunity. It’s no good beating the best player only to lose in the next round or final).

If Dimitrov walks out of this with a positive outlook, happy he took it to the #1 player in te world, instead of sad that he lost, he can be a top 10 player.


madmax Says:

andrea Says:
didn’t watch the last set but i was tired just watching them run everywhere. fed is going to have his work cut out for him.

January 22nd, 2014 at 10:16 am

andrea, it’s all about placement and timing. Fed has been very aggressive this tournament and this is what he needs to maintain from the get go.

He will certainly NOT be looking for long exchanges from the baseline.

No.


Brando Says:

I really, really felt sorry for him at the end of the match. You could tell he was hurt and really gutted.

After he lost the 3rd, he seemed really dejected and sad throughout the 4th: playing ultra aggressive in a manner of:

It’s a either a winner or a error, I don’t care anymore.

That’s not a slight against him,but rather him being understandably dejected after the 3rd set.

I think Rafa was under par in this match and I always felt as soon as he would be more consistent then he really could take the match but regardless of that:

1. Dimitrov has taken a set off Rafa each and every match. Why? Since he has real talent.

2. Grigor should have won that TB in set 3 for sure.

He’s pushed Rafa close every time, beat Novak- the kid’s talent is obvious and the top players respect it genuinely.

He needs to sort his mental and physical side of his game and he’ll rise even further. He’s certainly progressing for sure.

PS: I love the respect he shows here for Rafa. And the no.1 himself clearly has real admiration for Grigor: he says’ he shall naturally reach the top level with his talent and I think so to.

The best is yet to come for Grigor for sure.


Humble Rafa Says:

Yo Kiddo! Calm down.


patzin Says:

Not easy to play vs Rafa – his reputation precedes him of course. I felt Grigor was too aggressive. If he could have maintained focus & be more calm, he perhaps could have played a better match, w/no regrets. He is talented; he needs to grow into his own skin; he needs to mature & trust the process.

Rafa is a good role model I think for upcoming players. Mentality is important.


Polo Says:

How’s Grigor’s game on clay?


skeezer Says:

Like Grigors’ belief;
“I’m A Bit Shattered, I Came Out Expecting Nothing Less Than To Win”.
Great attitude. First you have to believe it. If not, you have NO chance. With this belief he can and maybe will challenge the top 5.
( now wait for bad jokes ).


WTF Says:

“After he lost the 3rd, he seemed really dejected and sad throughout the 4th: playing ultra aggressive in a manner of:”

That’s the thing he has to work on. Mental toughness. When Rafa blows an opportunity, he doesn’t get down on himself. He puts it behind him, forgets about it and focuses on the next point. Don’t dwell on missed opportunities.

You need this mentality to be a champion. If you give up and stop trying because you let a set get away from you, you’re going to have roadblocks in your career because I guarantee things like this will happen again and again.

He should have said, OK I lost the third set. I’ll just have to win it in 5 then. I’ve been playing well, so I’ll just keep up what I’ve been doing and my chances will come again.

That is exactly what Nadal said when he blew championiship points, choking away the 3rd and 4th set tiebreakers against Federer at Wimbledon 2008. He persisted and finally became the one to dethrone the king of wimbledon.


Boyko Says:

Michael, have you ever played tennis? – What has happened in the very important shot of Grigor for the set-point in the 3rd set could happen to any tennis player. The problem is that Grigor took it too much on his mind while he should not – he should continue to play strong as he did until that moment.

Grigor will not only have other chances to defeat Nadal but he has all the talent to defeat any tennis player and be No 1 in the near future.

Bravo Grigor ! – Wishing you Success !


skeezer Says:

Agreed and spot on. The simplistic view? Try to win every point, don’t try to win the score.


Patson Says:

Grigor is ready to beat the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. He needs to keep believing and keep working on his fitness. If he keeps working, he could be a major threat for US open this year.


Super Says:

I’m a Dimitrov fan, he is a wonderful prospect.

An exciting player to watch with a smooth game and an explosive drive. He is going to go far, I hope.

I agree with WTF about the mental toughness. Rafa is second to none in this department, and Grigor has some things to learn about not getting down if he misses some points.

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