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ATP Nitto Tennis From London • Grigor Dimitrov: “Comparisons Don’t Matter”

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates winning his round robin match against David Goffin of Belgium at the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 15 November 2017. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL



By Richard Pagliaro


LONDON—Grigor Dimitrov is enjoying one of his best seasons by asserting his own identity—and maintaining his sense of humor.


In the aftermath of his dynamic 6-0, 6-2 sweep of David Goffin that secured his spot in the World Tour Finals semifinals, Dimitrov faced questions about two champions—Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova—who have been a part of his life.


Asked if his success this season has put comparisons to Federer in the past, the man who was branded “Baby Fed” in his teenage years, said he’s focused on his own path.


“I think the comparisons and all this, they don’t really matter any more,” Dimitrov said. “As I said before, I’m saying it now, I’m really looking after my game and what I’m doing right. Yeah, I think one of the wrong things you can do is to try to follow somebody else or try to, as I said, follow in the footsteps, the things that they have done.”


Federer says Dimitrov is calmer and more comfortable Top 10 player these days.


“I would think he’s just more comfortable this time around,” Federer said. “He feels probably he belongs there, he deserves his place there. It’s like when you get older, you feel like you’ve had to work for it. The first time around, it’s like, it just happened. Oh, wow, cool. I know I worked hard, but probably others have worked harder than me…


“He’s always had fun on and off the court. So I think he just feels probably more confident in this whole thing. I went through the same situation, to be quite honest. Through success, I calmed down a little bit and felt like I knew myself and knew my place better.”


Dimitrov prompted laughter from the media when asked about his former “Russian girlfriend”—a reference to ex-girlfriend Sharapova—in a question about his global travels.


“You mentioned only one girlfriend in there? Man, c’mon,” Dimitrov said to collective laughter. “And you missed two other countries I lived in. Anyway, fair enough, fair enough.”


In her memoir, Unstoppable: My Life So Far, Sharapova writes positively about Dimitrov and their two-year relationship saying ultimately career pursuits broke the couple up. She also suggests Dimitrov’s drive for perfection and his sometime struggle to win ugly when his best tennis eludes him has held him back at times.


The 26-year-old Bulgarian suggested he will one day tell his story.


“The tennis lifestyle, it can go in so many directions, man,” Dimitrov said. “I mean, one day I would like to talk about it, absolutely. I think everyone is going to hear. I think I have a lot to say on that matter.”

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