Roger Federer Roland Garros

‘Their influence matters a lot’ – Former world No.3 says Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are ‘in a league of their own’

Grigor Dimitrov reveals he’s always felt differently about the influence of the biggest names in his sport such as Roger Federer and think’s its ‘beautiful how everyone is an individual in tennis’

Grigor Dimitrov was once talked about as a future world No.1 and at his peak reached No.3 in the rankings but he’s never tried to compare himself with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray, the 4 players he believes are ‘in a league of their own’.

Dimitrov was speaking at the Washington Open where he’d just beaten regular opponent Adrian Mannarino when he was asked about his mentality after 13 years of tour experience.

“I think the beauty, not only in our sport, but in all of the tennis players that each one of us is such different individuals. I never wanted to compare myself to Roger (Federer), Rafa (Nadal), Novak (Djokovic), Andy (Murray). They are in a league of their own.

“Their influence matters a lot. I think a lot of players are looking up to them and everybody is very excited to watch them, to see what they do, how they rest, but from my perspective, it’s just very, very different.

“I think I have got an excellent relationship with each one of them, and I think I have learned very different things from each one of them. But for me personally, I have been very fortunate to have I think a lot of good people around me throughout my career to kind of navigate me through some sort of mentality, and no one has ever pushed me to something.

“I think that’s something that I’m very grateful and thankful at the same time. My parents never pushed me to play tennis. So it’s safe to say that I absolutely took all these decisions and I made all those like commitments on my own.

“13 years, it’s pretty significant in our sport. I have been lucky not to skip many weeks or many years on tour, so I’m trying to cherish those moments a little bit more, to appreciate every single time I’m at an event.

“I was here 10 years ago for the first time. It’s crazy. Then when I go to some other tournaments and now for the 13th time, I’m like, Oh, my God. All those things, they make me smile.

“I feel just like a kid coming to a tournament. That’s a great feeling. If you don’t have that, then don’t play. Take a step back, because when you reach a certain level of experience then that will make you be better at every other event that you play.”

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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.