Grigor Dimitrov - Shanghai Masters 2023 and Rafael Nadal - Brisbane International 2024

Grigor Dimitrov claims Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal is ‘the worst thing’ after ending title drought

Grigor Dimitrov revealed that he felt ’emotional’ after winning his first title in over six years, but was disappointed to learn of Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open withdrawal.

Dimitrov last won a title at the ATP Finals back in 2017, but ended this drought yesterday after beating Holger Rune to win the second Brisbane International of his career.

The Bulgarian spoke about his ‘love affair’ with the Australian city after the match, “It’s been a while since I held one of these, it’s a bit emotional. My love affair started here many years ago in Brisbane and it continues. I’m very thankful to lift the trophy again.”

At almost the same time that Dimitrov was claiming victory, 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal announced that he was ‘not ready’ to play the Australian Open this year after suffering a micro tear on a muscle.

And Dimitrov was asked about Nadal’s news in press, “Yeah, that sucks. Is it the same injury? What can I say? This is the worst thing that can happen.”

The 32-year-old went onto reveal that he had planned to practice with Nadal prior to the first major of 2024, “I hope it’s not too bad, for sure. I actually have a practice with him this week. I guess that’s not going to happen.

“I watched him practice a few times here. I always like watching him play regardless whether it’s a practice or a match. I mean, for sure that’s disappointing. Much more to him than anybody else. I was really looking forward to that.”

Dimitrov has now risen up to No.13 in the ATP rankings, his highest since 2018, as he now heads to Melbourne for the Australian Open that begins on Sunday 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

It is a brilliant first week of the season for Grigor Dimitrov, who finished the 2023 season in strong form having reached the final of the Paris Masters. Dimitrov’s words about Nadal say a lot about him as a person, with the Bulgarian clearly having a lot of respect for the former world No.1. It will be interesting to see if Dimitrov can have a run at a major tournament this year, as he has not surpassed the fourth round of a Grand Slam since reaching the quarter-final of the Australian Open back in 2021.

READ NEXT: Rafael Nadal reveals he is ‘not ready’ and withdraws from Australian Open

Grigor Dimitrov ATP Titles

Dimitrov’s second success in Brisbane brings up the ninth ATP title of his career, and here is the history of them:


Stockholm (ATP 250)


Acapulco (ATP 500)

Bucharest (ATP 250)

Queen’s Club (ATP 250)


Brisbane (ATP 250)

Sofia (ATP 250)

Cincinnati (Masters 1000)

ATP Finals


Brisbane (ATP 250)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.