LONDON: Grigor Dimitrov left his first match at the ATP Finals in the same manor as he approached it. With a big smile and high sense of pride.
Relishing in a career-best season, the 26-year-old has already won three ATP finals out of the four he has participated in. At the Cincinnati Masters, he dropped serve only once on route to lifting the most prestigious title of his career. His reward for those achievements is a place in his first season-ending finale. A milestone that he has sought to achieve for many years.
“I’ve never been out here. Now I can say that that barrier is broken, I guess.” Said Dimitrov.
“It for me was just one of those new experiences that I think I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, I think appreciate for the rest of my life.”
Starting his London campaign with a marathon win over Dominic Thiem, Dimitrov isn’t just playing for himself. He has rewritten the history books as the first Bulgarian player to feature in the tournament. Underlining the legacy he is in the process of creating for his native country.
Dimitrov, who is preparing to build an academy in his home town of Haskovo, is under no illusion of the significance he is having on Bulgarian tennis. It is a daunting task, but he chooses to take things in his stride. He doesn’t want to rise to the top of the rankings for just himself. His dream is to inspire others to follow in his own footsteps.
“It’s not only big for me, I think it’s for my whole country, for Bulgaria. It’s great for me to show that everything is possible.” He explained.
“You push the boundaries, doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s all up to you, everything is in your hands. Basically, whatever you put in is what you get.”
Monday’s win over Thiem was Dimitrov’s fourth win over a top-10 player. A milestone he has only achieved once before in 2014. Reflecting on the surge in his form, the world No.6 is still eager to improve further and crack the top-5.
“I’ve done also a lot of work on and off the court. I think it finally is starting to kind of come together.” Dimitrov evaluated.
“I’m trying to fulfill the little gaps that I think I can do better on. From now on, I think only the little things will make a huge difference.” He later added.
With 45 wins under his belt so far this season, Dimitrov sees a positive future for him and his team. Part of his success is down to coach Dani Vallverdu, who has guided him since last year. In the past, there has been doubts raised about his mentality on the tour following a drop to 40th in the world in 2016. For Dimitrov, this is now all in the past for him.
“I think the best is yet to come. I’m super excited for what’s ahead. I’m already looking for the next season. Getting excited also a little bit for the off-season, which it’s not the most exciting time, but I’m getting excited. I think that’s a good sign, right?”
At the ATP Finals, the former Wimbledon semifinalist will play the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and David Goffin. Against No.1 Nadal, he has only won one out of their 11 meetings on the tour. Nevertheless, Dimitrov remains fearless of what lies ahead for him.
“I have zero preference who I’m going to play. I’m here to compete. That’s all I’m going to look after to, the rest. Honestly doesn’t really matter to me right Now.” He concluded.
Should Dimitrov win any more matches this week, he will achieve five wins over a top-10 player within a single season for the first time in his career.
Kiki Bertens Believes In Stability And Trust Ahead Of 2020 Season
Kiki Bertens looks for stability in hope of grand slam success in 2020.
Kiki Bertens believes stability and trust is the key to success ahead of the 2020 season despite a time of change for the Dutchwoman.
A time of change is approaching for Kiki Bertens as she recently just got married to her physical trainer Remko De Rijke.
It’s not only off the court, change is approaching for the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist as her and coach Raemon Sluiter parted ways during the off-season.
After the split it would have been easy for Bertens to make a radical change to her coaching team but that is not her style as she has promoted Elise Tamaela to a main coaching role.
Even through a time of change, Bertens believes stability is crucial to success, “It takes me a while to be able to trust someone,” she admitted to Dutch website De Telegraaf.
“And I don’t want to spend that time on something like that. We’re going to continue in the same way for next year. The results were not as expected in the Grand Slams but I had other good weeks. It’s really not that I felt different playing in the Slams than in other weeks in which I could win titles.”
Although the formula to winning a grand slam has yet to be solved, the world number nine has achieved great consistency having won 55 matches in 2019, which also included the biggest title of her career in Madrid.
A new era await for Bertens with her new coach and plenty of praise was given to Elise Tamaela ahead of the new season, “For me the most important thing is that that person knows a lot about tennis. I have to be able to fully trust her,” Bertens said.
“To be able to laugh with that person, eat with her. I prefer to keep the equipment to the minimum possible and be able to feel comfortable in terms of confidence. Sometimes more people in the team only bring more opinions. And that style is not mine.”
This simplistic formula has worked for Bertens in the past and as the 2020 season approaches, she’s not looking to change it.
However will inexperience lead to the same results at grand slams, with the level of the Women’s game rising, Bertens may find that breaking the boundaries of stability is needed.
The former world number four will start her march towards more glory in Brisbane on the 6th of January.
Caroline Wozniacki Announces Retirement After Australian Open
Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open in January.
Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open as a new chapter in her life approaches.
The Dane won 30 WTA singles titles in her career and spent 71 weeks as world number one although a grand slam had haunted her for most of her career.
However that changed in 2018 after an epic win over Simona Halep sealed a dream come true as she won her first grand slam at the Australian Open.
Since winning her maiden slam though, it has been an uphill struggle on the court for Wozniacki as she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Some days the former world number one and on some days, it is a constant battle for her to even wake up in the morning.
Now with other priorities taking over having been married to former NBA player David Lee since June and already studying Business at Harvard, Wozniacki today took the decision to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.
In a statement on Instagram, Woznaicki told her followers that she had accomplished everything she wanted to and looks forward to the future, “I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court,” she said.
“I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court.
“Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.
“This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!
“Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!”
Although this retirement may have been coming, not many people would have predicted it would come at the scene of her grand slam breakthrough.
Now in the last stretch of her career, the Dane will want to finish on a high as she looks to celebrate a career that has lasted nearly 15 years.
Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams are the stand-out names in Adelaide
Four top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens and former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will grab the headlines at the Adelaide International from 12 to 18 January 2020.
A total of seven Grand Slam champions and five former world number one players will take part in the Adelaide WTA tourament.
This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded line-up, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and seven other members of the top 20.
The Main Draw also features Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, World Number 30 Quang Wang. World Number 12 and this Rome WTA Premier finalist Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open following a knee injury.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard.
“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans. I have had so many memorable times times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer”, said Venus Williams.
The men’s line-up includes 2019 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, Alex De Minaur, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev.
“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis, from Australia’s favourite Ashleigh Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex De Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field”, said South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway.
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