Grigor Dimitrov rose four spots to ninth in the ATP Tour rankings after making the semi-finals at Wimbledon, reaching the goal he set for himself at the start of the year. He now faces a more difficult task – staying up, which, as the other two players to have broken into the top 10 so far this year (Kei Nishikori and Ernests Gulbis) know, is easier said than done.
Dimitrov, who lost in four sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in a four-set encounter, has also gained four spots in the Emirates ATP Race to London standings, which tracks calendar-year results. By this measure, Dimitrov has been the sixth-best player so far this year and would feature in the end-year ATP World Tour finals in London if he is in the top eight at the end of the season.
He could rise even further in the ATP rankings if the current world number eight, Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, continues to miss time rehabbing his wrist injury. Del Potro is not expected to defend his Citi Open title in Washington later this month, where Dimitrov reached the quarterfinal stage last year and is scheduled to play again this year.
Dimitrov had become Bulgaria’s most successful male tennis player even as a teenager – the country’s biggest names on the tennis court had been previously entirely on the women’s side, with the Maleeva sisters and Tsvetana Pironkova’s run to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2011.
But four titles since October 2013, including on the grass at the Queen’s Club last month, have pundits speaking of Dimitrov as finally delivering on the promise of his talent and one of the leaders of the pack of younger players chasing the ATP Tour’s “big four” of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
(Grigor Dimitrov photo by mirsasha/flickr.com)