Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The youngest player in the ATP World
Tour's top 20 right now is Grigor Dimitrov ... and with very good reason.
"Baby Fed" is still only 22 years old, but his game has been picking up steam
steadily over the last year.
The rising Bulgarian star reached his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal at
last month's Australian Open, and he'll certainly be reaching many more over
the years to come.
The Haskovo native, ranked 19th in the world, is probably best known right now
for being one half of a powerhouse tennis couple, with the other half being
women's superstar Maria Sharapova.
But that's going to change.
Note: With Maria having a net worth of about $90 million, Dimitrov is going to
have to pick up the pace if he's gonna hang with the iconic Russian.
Nicknamed Baby Fed because his game so closely resembles that of the great
Roger Federer (particularly on the backhand side), Dimitrov is one of the most
exciting players to watch because of that on-court prowess.
Prior to his round-of-eight Aussie run last month, Dimitrov had failed to even
get past the second round in 12 of his previous 13 major events. And he
suffered first-round setbacks in six of those baker's dozen Slams.
So why do I think he's ready to make a big move? Because that's the natural
order of things in sports, and tennis is no exception. Bide your time, learn
the ropes, get stronger, and, bam, you're on your way ... if you're
exceptionally talented, that is. And Dimitrov is.
In Melbourne last month, "G-Force" won four matches in the main draw,
including an upset of Canadian masher Milos Raonic in the third round before
eventually running into one of the greatest players of all-time in the
quarters -- Rafael Nadal.
Dimitrov is currently 10th in the "Race to London" rankings, which is based on
points gained only during the current year and sends the top eight players to
the ATP World Tour Finals in London at the end of the season.
As a junior, Dimitrov held the world No. 1 ranking and captured boys' singles
titles at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2008, the same year he turned
The 6-foot-3 Dimitrov reached the first two ATP finals of his career last year,
titling in Stockholm (where he upset David Ferrer in the final) and finishing
as a bridesmaid in Brisbane.
He's an all-court performer with a heavy emphasis on (surprise) baseline play
and boasts a beautiful one-handed backhand. He considers the backhand down the
line to be his favorite shot, not much unlike that of his idol growing up
-- the great Pete Sampras.
To me, Dimitrov still needs to work on his stamina and return of serve, and
with some fine-tuning in those departments, the sky's the limit.
And with esteemed coach Roger Rasheed by his side, you can probably count on
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