Grigor Dimitrov played his first round match in Rotterdam with a blacked out racket that bears a lot of similarities to a Head frame. After struggling for much of the match, Dimitrov regrouped to defeat Paul-Henri Mathieu in three sets, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2.
Dimitrov has been testing new rackets for some time now; he was playing with a blacked out Wilson frame in Paris-Bercy last year and then again at the Australian Open in January. Pictured above is Dimitrov’s Head racket reportedly getting strung from December of 2014. Rumors had been swirling of a switch to Head, but when Dimitrov showed up in Melbourne with a Wilson stencil many of those rumors were quieted.
However, in Rotterdam, Dimitrov had no stencil on the racket, and the design of the frame and grommets appears very similar to a Head frame. More specifically, the rackets bears many resemblances to the Head Prestige line, which is historically one of the most popular players frames.
Dimitrov is no stranger to the feel of a Head racket. He played with one throughout his Junior career as well as his early pro years.
The head size of Dimitrov’s racket appears to be 98 sq. inches, and the string pattern is 16×19. Roger Federer’s switch to the larger head size has garnered much attention from both the media and fellow players. Dimitrov, whose game is remarkably similar to the Swiss great, may just well be taking a page out of Federer’s book. The two players practice together often and surely Dimitrov was tempted by Federer’s success in 2014 with the larger frame. Maria Sharapova, Dimitrov’s girlfriend, also uses a Head racket.
In the match against Mathieu, Dimitrov’s timing appeared to be slightly off, and he struggled to hit the return of serve cleanly. While Dimitrov’s return has always been one of his weaker shots, it was noticeably off for much of the match Monday. However, Dimitrov was getting quite a bit of pace on his first serve, topping the 220 km/hr mark on multiple occasions. As the match progressed, Dimitrov did appear to get more comfortable and started to really strike the ball well late in the second set and into the third.
Adjusting to a new frame is not easy, and it often takes a fair amount of time before players get comfortable and confident with their new stick. Dimitrov fell to Andy Murray in January at the Australian Open, and executed one of the better racket smashes you will ever see.
While that reaction was likely just built up frustration after failing to close out the fourth set, could that be the last time we see Dimitrov with a Wilson racket?