Grigor Dimitrov: I’m never homesick


Originally published on: 16/06/12 00:00

Tennishead: You broke into the Top 100 at the end of 2011, how much tougher is it at this level?

Grigor Dimitrov: I think it’s tough. When I tried to come up as a junior to the big guys, I thought I’m ready, you know I think I can do it. I thought it was just going to come natural and every match was going to be a win. I was really free-minded in a way, of course, that’s what you call inexperience. For my standards you’d say it’s an unbelievable year, but for my standards for what I really wanted to have at the end of the year it was OK I think, I could have done better.

TH. Who is helping you with your development?

GD. Well right now I’m practicing in Paris with the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy. I’ve been with them since 3 and a half years. I recently stop with my coach Peter McNamara, we’ve been together for a long time. I’m back with my Dad, he’s always been my coach and always been very supportive.

TH. How important is your relationship with your Dad?

GD. I need to count on someone and the only person that I knew, and actually I could really put all my trust in is him.

TH. What do you enjoy about being on tour?

GD. I don’t think it’s easy to be on tour at all. Just to give you one small example, sometimes if you have a week off from a tournament, you start not panicking but you question a lot of things and that’s the worst time I’d say for a player. I appreciate this time being alone. You don’t get this chance very often. Where I live is pretty…in Paris.

TH. Did you find it difficult to leave Bulgaria?

GD. I think it was quite easy for me because I left Bulgaria pretty early. I’m never homesick or anything, which is a bit sad, but you know, just the way everything turns out to be for me. I had quite a few obstacles on the way to now, where I am so I feel that I can really be myself. I mean that’s the most important thing, to be yourself.

TH. And do you like Paris?

GD. Love it, great city.

TH. I guess you don’t spend that much time there?

GD. Yeah, last year I was home just four weeks out of the whole year so it’s funny, but is just the way it is.

TH. Do you still feel an affinity for Bulgaria, even though you don’t live there?
GD. Yeah, Bulgaria is always going to be Bulgaria to me. I grew up there, I’m never going to forget my roots or where I came from. I had a very tough life as a child but, you know, growing up in a very small town and not in the best environment was, it kind of sticks on your mind and every time you try to go the other way and try to have this lavish type of, I stop myself right away. I’m really happy for this. Sometimes you meet up good guys, you meet celebrities and stuff and they are like, oh lets go there and this and then, all of a sudden you’re like, oh what am I doing. Its not my type of thing, its not my environment. So that’s why sometimes people think like oh, ‘he is a big deal’ and this and that, but in the end we’re, all the players I’m saying, everyone is human, everyone is.

TH. Who gave you your first racquet? 
GD. My Dad.

TH. Do you come from a sporty family?
 GD. Yeah, my Mum is a former volleyball player.

TH. And a P.E. teacher?
GD. Yeah, she is too teaching kids and stuff to play volleyball. And my Dad has been coaching, so he taught he taught me how to play.

TH. What surface suits you best?
GD. I would say the hard court.
TH. Is that what you grew up with?
GD. I grew up on clay. I don’t mind clay, but I am very comfortable on the other surfaces. It’s not like I hate clay or anything but. Plus most of the tournaments of the year are on the hard court, we have like 4 weeks or 5 weeks on clay.

TH. And then a weird amount of time on grass 
GD. Exactly. I love the grass though. I really appreciate that time there. Yeah you got to be all-court player, that’s the way it is.

TH. What would it mean to you to play in the Olympics?
GD. Well I think first is a prestige, you know, and of course is going to be written in your résumé or whatever. What I care about is to experience the thing. I put this as a goal this year so I want to follow it. If I’m in I’m going to be probably one of the happiest guys ever. And especially London is one of my favourite cities, and I won Wimbledon there as well, had very good thing on the grass, so I’m really positive about it.

TH. What other goals have you set, apart from the Olympics? 
GD. Yeah, I wanna achieve…this is my main thing to be honest with you. I don’t want to speak about the rankings and stuff because I think this thing is not permanent. This thing can change one day to the other, this is just, I think, nothing is permanent when it comes to that. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you might get injury, you might stop. But I definitely have thoughts, let me just put it that way. I have thoughts. I have things to develop in my game that I really want to and if all that works, you know, everything follows by, everything falls into the right spot and everything is going to come more natural in the end. Because if you try to hustle your own luck, or to provoke anything it might not turn the way you want it.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.