By Lauren Lynch
Photo Credit: Sean Bradley
(May 22, 2011) He has been called the next "Roger Federer" on several occasions and girls of all ages noticed him right away for his charming good looks and wavy locks- calling him the Justin Bieber of the tennis world. One year ago, Grigor Dimitrov was the 325th-ranked player in the world.
Then, the 20-year-old Bulgarian switched to Wilson tennis racquets.
Now, he's the 64th-ranked player in the world, and this year he's scored wins over No. 38 Andrey Golubev and No. 25 Marcos Baghdatis, as well as making his first quarterfinal in Munich in April and winning a challenger tournament in Cherbourg. He is also winning the hearts of his female fans, including my own.
Tennis Now got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the tennis hunk, and we asked him a few questions prior to Roland Garros.
TN: What are your goals for the next year? What type of training will you be doing in the off season to get there?
Dimitrov: "My goal every year is to be better then the previous year and to get to where i have not yet got to. I have not decided yet but I will be aiming to be near the seaside because that is where I am able to prepare myself the most mentally and fiscally, " adding with a cheeky giggle, "part of my mental training will be playing angry birds without smacking my Ipad."
TN: What tournament would you like to win the most and why?
Dimitrov: "Wimbledon. Reason being I won it as a junior and for me it's the heart of tennis."
Because of his results, and his success as a junior player in winning the Wimbledon junior championships in 2008, he is considered one of the tour's up-and-coming players who could have an impact at this year's French Open.
TN: Did you idolize any players growing up?
Dimitrov: "Sampras and Federer."
In fact, people draw comparisons between Dimitrov and his idol, Roger Federer, because of his all-court game, one-handed backhand, ability to play well on all surfaces and now, his equipment: both men use the Wilson Six.One Tour BLX.
Don't confuse the two, however, because Grigor is no Robin/ Bieber to Federer's Batman/ Usher. He is known for his passionate style of play and showing his emotions on the court.
He is his own man with his own style. Born in Haskovo, Bulgaria, he lives in Paris, loves bikes, hip hop music (loves Lil Wayne), he has been skydiving and Alexander McQueen is his favorite designer.
As his ranking has increased, Dimitrov is also becoming known for his good looks as well his fun personality.
He recalls a funny and memorable time on the court.
TN: What's the most interesting or funny experience you've had on the tour?
Dimitrov: "Three weeks ago I was playing a challenger in Prague and I made the best shot of my career so far. I hit a forehand approach inside out, I ran towards the net and my opponent hit the ball directly at me and as I was running I hit the ball behind my back making it a winner in the opposite side. One to remember. "
In a Wilson player + expert video, he plays tennis with two deejays, then has his turn at the turn table. See the video below:
He does so well that the two deejays kick him off, saying they don't want him to take their jobs.
This year alone he has traveled to Melbourne, Rotterdam, Marseille, Dubai, Cherbourg, Sarajevo, Miami, Houston, Barcelona, Munich, Prague, Nice, and now Paris. He embraces the travel because he can blow kisses to his adoring fans (okay, so maybe I added the last bit).
TN: What do you like about traveling around the world almost every
Dimitrov: "(Traveling) gives you a chance to explore different cities to embrace different cultures. its a great chance to broaden your prospective about the world. Definitely, I would say hanging around the airports is what I dislike the most."
This is his first French Open and he plays Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round. If he wins, he could face 18th-seeded and former top 10 player, Gilles Simon, in the second round.
This year he is 3-4 on the clay courts. He is fearless when it comes to opponents.
TN: Who has been your toughest opponent and why?
Dimitrov: "I have had a lot of tough opponents; no one in particular yet."
TN: Do you change your string tension or racquet weighting when you
move from hard courts to clay courts? Why?
Dimitrov: "Yes. I change the string tension when going from hard courts to clay because of the balls and all other factors but I never change my racket weight because it is not good for me."
He is part of Wilson's Next Gen campaign. Be sure to watch out for him on the clay. He plays on Wednesday, so ladies, get ready to watch your heart go pitty-pat and gentleman, get ready for the next up-and-comer!