Tennis Prose



Dimitrov’s Rome Nightmare

Dimitrov unleashes a serve.

Dimitrov unleashes a serve.

Grigor Dimitrov finally appeared to be on the verge of his long-awaited journey to tennis greatness earlier this year in Australia. In the fifth set vs Nadal of the Australian Open semifinals, this was the perfect moment for Dimitrov to take the next step.

But Nadal wouldn’t let Dimitrov take that step. Nadal won 6-4 in the fifth and Dimitrov has suffered a severe downward spiral (though he did win his second title of the year in Bulgaria which was his next event after Australia).

Losing that match to Nadal has evidently damaged Dimitrov’s confidence as his season since early February has been a disaster. He lost a 7-6 in the third tiebreaker to Jack Sock in Indian Wells, blowing a match point.

Then Super G lost 36 67 to Guido Pella in the R64 in Miami.

Then in Morocco Dimitrov lost again in three sets to Tommy Robredo 46 61 16.

In Monte Carlo Dimitrov lost his first match again to Jan Struff 64 36 26.

Last week in Madrid came another heartbreaker, Dimitrov won two rounds over Kohlschreiber and Karlovic but then lost to Dominic Thiem in a third set tiebreaker 9-7, blowing five match points.

That kind of shattering loss is very hard to shake off and this week in Rome Dimitrov crashed again, losing to Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets after winning the first.

The 26 year old is ranked 11 in the world and has a nice record of 19-7 on the year but half of the seven losses have been devastating losses.

You have to wonder, why can’t Dimitrov finish any of these close matches at the wire?

Does Dimitrov have a reputation among the ATP players of being a choker who lacks sufficient killer instinct? Is the affable and friendly Bulgarian too nice, too soft in the heat of the battle of a ferocious tennis fistfight? Does Dimitrov lack the eye of the tiger?

Dimitrov showed in Melbourne he has the goods and he has the physical arsenal to win a major title. But some small element is missing, whether that mysterious element is still underdeveloped or totally absent and lacking remains to be seen.

Dimitrov will enter Roland Garros in two weeks as a seeded player. A seeded player with a very low supply of confidence.

(Photo by Henk Abbink)

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  • catherine bell · May 19, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Scoop –

    Don’t think Cahill saw it that way. Hartt quoted Simona about his reaction a while back. He split temporarily with her after Miami.

  • Andrew Miller · May 19, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Konta deserves her big results. She earns it and seems to have really studied Murray. Konta, though I don’t love her game, seems like a slam champ in waiting. How ironic would it be if Konta were to face Halep or Plisko for a title, and win it because she’s more courageous?
    I admire her grit. Just not her forehand.

  • catherine bell · May 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Konta hasn’t seemed the same since the Fed Cup. Maybe that experience took something out of her and opponents will see her as vulnerable.

    Unfortunately she’s not totally embraced in Britain – she’s viewed as Australian first and Hungarian second. Simona, on the other hand, can rely on the support of all Romania wherever she plays. Can make a difference.

    You’ve often commented that you don’t particularly admire Konta’s game, so I’m not sure why you seem so certain that she’s a slam winner in waiting. Is it just grit ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Catherine; The crowds can and do make a difference. And Halep definitely has that going for her. Hopefully the French crowd will embrace her and her draw does not include any showdowns with French players like Kiki or Cornet which could discombobulate her, I haven’t seen Konta play lately but to still be bothered by the Fed Cup drama shows mental fragility.

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