If Grigor Dimitrov’s name does not appear in the debate about who is the player who has progressed the most this year in tennis, then it would be meaningless. The Bulgarian was ranked No. 28 at the start of the season and is now on course to break into the top 15 for the first time in five years and today will play his debut Masters final for the last six seasons.
British specialist Jamie Delgado, who in the past managed to bring Andy Murray to the top of world tennis, has undoubtedly played a big role in the progress of our native representative. Delgado has made it a point to restore our native’s net presence and make him the aggressive tennis player that he has always been, and here is what the coach himself has to say about working with our compatriot:
“We are happy to work with Grigor during the second best season of his career. When we started together at the end of last year, things did not look good: he was behind in the rankings, he did not have the necessary confidence… We tried to raise his mood and to point out what’s right and what’s wrong with his game. He’s hard-working, persistent – and now he’s reaping the rewards of his efforts by playing at the highest level.
Some basic things had to be fixed in the beginning, and now he is able to add aggressiveness to it. We’re happy with how his game looks and how much confidence he’s coming in,” longtime head coach Andy Murray was quoted as saying by Kurir.rs correspondent Vuk Brajovic in Paris.
Asked to what extent physical fitness has positively influenced mental fitness – and vice versa, Delgado explains:
“We worked on muscle mass. Grigor added 5-6 kilograms of muscle. In December last year, he was frail and weaker – unable to maintain a high level of play for a long period of time.
This was the first goal that had to be achieved in order to create the conditions for development, and we successfully solved it in a month or two.
The psychological part of the story came after that and it depended on whether he would be committed enough to play the kind of game we agreed to – and what results he would achieve, which ultimately affects confidence.
As a result, I think he is now much braver in crucial moments than he was at the beginning of the year. Now it seems to me that – win or lose – he gives the impression that he believes in his game a lot more.
In addition to a beautiful backhand topspin, Dimitrova also has a great slice backhand on all surfaces, and Delgado has many words of praise for this strategic stroke. “It’s important to determine to what extent it’s optimal to play him – and I think he uses it very cleverly defensively, but also to set himself up for a decisive attack.
One of the main goals was to get him back into the Top 20, which we accomplished. It is also important to make the best possible setup for a successful 2024 to have better positions in the draw of the next tournaments. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have ambitions to get back to the very top of the rankings because we see – even when he’s beating some of the best players, there’s room for improvement.
Now he himself is the source of this optimism and work enthusiasm, which was a little lost in recent years,” Delgado is frank.
Asked whether modeling the game from scratch carries with it a risk of predictability, the British expert says:
“In the beginning it was important to sort out the basic parameters of the game and how important that is to the best players in the world – like Novak Djokovic, for example. It wasn’t a problem with him because he’s naturally creative, there’s so much variation in his game. The fact is that Dimitrov has one of the most beautiful games, and in a technical sense this means for us – that he has more options and possibilities, which makes working with him even more beautiful and the desired results are closer .”
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