November 21, 2017
Grigor Dimitrov isn’t “Baby Fed” any more. He is finally a star in his own right. But how many of us saw this one coming?
The first debutant to win the year-end finals this century, Dimitrov always had it in him somewhere. The talent was never in doubt.
That’s why the smouldering Bulgarian was likened to the great Roger Federer. Some of his movement and shot-making seemed so effortless.
But as the years went on, effort itself appeared to become an issue. How much did Grigor really want to be the best?
He enjoyed top-ten status and a glamorous relationship with Maria Sharapova. But many had begun to wonder whether the 26-year-old would ever make the step up and finally win something important.
Dimitrov answered the doubters in London last week. His 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 defeat of David Goffin – who had beaten Federer in the semis – showed a newfound mental strength.
And interestingly, Dimitrov praised his girlfriend, Nicole Scherzinger, for getting his mind just right for the climax to the season.
Grigor said: ‘I want to thank one person, my girlfriend. She deserves quite a bit of credit this week, she has been amazing.’
They have been together for two years and they don’t care about the thirteen-year age gap. It works. Scherzinger knows a bit about the spotlight, having been a member of the Pussycat Dolls pop group and a judge on British TV show The X-Factor.
And she seems to be helping Dimitrov fulfil his sporting potential at last.
Make no mistake, Dimitrov could suddenly find that he has been propelled to superstar status. He has always had the looks of a film star. Now he has the biggest win of his career.
Nicole will be an important influence behind the scenes as her man learns to cope with a new level of pressure.
“Baby Fed” ? No, Grigor has come of age. And world tennis just got even more exciting.
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