After years of being touted as one of the next great players, Grigor (Baby Fed) Dimitrov has finally arrived. Sunday was monumental for the Bulgarian, as he claimed his first ATP World Tour title, defeating David Ferrer in the final of the IF Stockholm Open 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Sure, it’s only a 250 event. Sure, it’s his best surface, an indoor hard court. He only had to beat two top 30 players in route to the title. Ferrer, a top five player, hasn’t even been playing great tennis. But the significance of this title cannot be understated. This is huge for Dimitrov’s progression into a top 10 player–and yes, I do think he will be a top 10 player.
His game style is compared to Roger Federer, and for good reason. His forehand is nearly identical, and the rest of his game isn’t far off either. I used to think that I was going to like Grigor because he like Federer. Now I realize that I love Dimitrov because he has his own personality, and he is not just a shadow of the Swiss Maestro.
Dimitrov has almost all the shots–his backhand is vulnerable to mistakes. Surely you’ve seen the insane highlight tapes on the Bulgarian. His behind the back half-volley, his diving pass against Djokovic in Madrid, or his squash-shot like pass against Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati. Every match Dimitrov plays you could see something special, and that’s what makes him great. This has held him back in the past, because his shot selection was questionable. However, in 2013 his fitness has improved, and his style of play has changed with it. He can now grind with the best of them, like Ferrer. He’s not afraid to do some roadwork behind the baseline. Speed has never been the problem for Dimitrov, it’s been about harnessing that speed with balance.
As he heads to Basel, the event he hit his greatest shot ever, Dimitrov is full of confidence. He only has two tournaments left this year, but look for him to make some more noise on the indoor hard courts. A potential blockbuster quarterfinal in Basel could be Dimitrov vs Federer. Please make that happen guys.