Dimitrov: “Consistency of beating top players is way bigger success than anything else”

The Bulgarian will play Jannik Sinner in the Miami Open final on Sunday

Grigor Dimitrov Miami semis © Julien Nouet / Tennis Majors
Miami Open presented by Itau •Semi-final • completed
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Grigor Dimitrov has won nine titles in his career – including the ATP Finals – and been ranked as high as No 3 in the world. The Bulgarian has been a constant factor in the world’s top 20 and often higher, but after winning Rotterdam in 2018, it took him five years to make another final.

His talent has never been in question but in the past year, Dimitrov has rediscovered the consistency that took him into the world’s top three for a short time at the end of 2017, with wins over Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev taking him into the Miami final. That consistency, he says, is what makes him happiest of all.

“For me is what’s better… I have been able to put those matches back to back,” said the 32-year-old, who will take on Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in the final on Sunday. “I think the consistency of beating top players, that to me is way bigger success than anything else.”

Dimitrov’s run in Miami means he’ll return to the world’s top 10 on Monday for the first time since 2018. It’s a significant achievement and also restores a one-handed backhand to the top 10. But for Dimitrov, the ranking is a result of his efforts week in, week out.

“I mean, if you do that, you get the ranking,” he said, having been watched by Serena Williams on Friday. “If you do that, things are just getting better for you. But in order to do (it), it’s where it all comes through. The discipline, the hard work, you know, all the dedication, the adjustment to very different players throughout that time, I mean, you need to be able to do that on a constant basis.

“That’s been happening for the past eight, nine, 12 months. It’s been difficult. I had very, very difficult match that I have lost and that I’m in a way still pissed about. But I kept on believing, kept on doing the work.

“I think the discipline brought me I think to that moment. There is nothing else. I didn’t kind of deviate from my target, not even my goal. I had small targets throughout — every single week I had a target, and also to be able to put my body through all that on a daily basis was also very important for me. Every single day when I wake up and I don’t have a big pain that would stop me to practice 100 percent was already a success for me.

“So when you start putting all that together, I think it’s where I’m most, in a way, most proud with. Of course competing against top players and beating them sort of back to back, it’s definitely what I’m the most happy with.”

Dimitrov using his variety to perfection

In a world where power dominates, Dimitrov has shown there’s still room for someone with variety to prosper. Putting everything together in the biggest moments is never easy but in Miami, and in general over the past year, he’s managed it well.

” I know I have a lot of tools in my bag that I can use, but also I need to make sure that I use them at the right time,” Dimitrov said.

“I think today (against Zverev), for example, especially in the third set, I was able to use those ones, you know, the finesse, use the slice a little bit more, be a little bit more aggressive with my forehand, serve and volley, coming in.”

So the diversity is what I think spooks a lot of players overall, but if you’re able to do it in very crucial moments, that’s, in a way, the basic of the game. That positions me to do that. Then it helps me to be more in control of the game.”

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