Dimitrov: I don't want to miss any chance

In an interview with RG.com, the Bulgarian explains what drives him the most at this stage of his career

Grigor Dimitrov, Roland-Garros 2023, third round© Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

It’s nearly midnight, but Grigor Dimitrov is relaxed and smiling as he sits down at the Roland-Garros media centre to discuss his impressive march to the second week.

The former world No.3, now 29 in the rankings, hasn’t dropped a set this fortnight as he booked his spot in the fourth round here for the first time since 2020.

Dimitrov has reached the semi-finals at the other three Grand Slams, but never on Parisian clay, where he is still searching for a last-eight appearance.

A win over Alexander Zverev in Monday’s night session would see the Bulgarian finally cross that fourth-round barrier, and given his form so far on the red dirt (he made the Geneva final on the eve of Roland-Garros), he has every reason to believe in his chances.

“It’s great, honestly it’s good. But I’ve worked to be in that second week,” Dimitrov told rolandgarros.com of his run to the last 16.

“I don’t want to miss any chance, not only to win a match, but to be deep into events like these. I think I have the tank for it, I’ve done it in the past and I think now it’s a good time for me to start redrawing also a little bit from the experience that I’ve built over the years and I feel that gives me a good edge.”

Grigor Dimitrov - Alexander Zverev

Dimitrov has played Grand Slam tennis for the past 15 years and at 32, is able to approach the sport with a deeper perspective.

One’s source of motivation is bound to evolve and change over the years and for Dimitrov, his thirst for learning is what is truly driving him during this current phase of his career.

“Right now, I think for me it’s just to get better. I just want to improve. Honestly it’s a very internal battle, it’s between me and me, and I think that’s the beauty of it,” he explains.

“Of course, my intention is all what I’m going to be doing out there on the court, but every day I just want to get better at something; whether it’s off the court, whether it’s friends, family… I sort of put like a light wave on right now and really just use whatever I have in front of me right now.

“And every day I just focus on the task at hand and then you learn. And I want to learn, I think I’m in a place where I just want to keep on learning, how can I do better? How can I rehab better? How can I get a better edge? Those are professional goals, but then you have the personal as well. I think once you get into a good rhythm of that and good understanding, it’s a good feeling.”

Dimitrov contrasts how he feels now to when he was younger. He was a highly-touted up-and-comer, constantly compared to Roger Federer due to similarities in their style of play.

“I think when you’re young you just want to prove yourself, win at all cost… I still want to do that, I still want to win, but I think when you find your motive, your goal, that automatically becomes your drive,” he says.

“I think as my career progressed through ups and downs, of course there were times that things weren’t ideal but you learn from that, you stumble, you lean on people who have known you for a long time; they give you a little nudge, a little push, they make you think.”

Grigor Dimitrov, 3e tour, Roland-Garros 2023 ©Julien Crosnier / FFT

He notes that he enjoys the process now way more than before and that naturally translates to enjoying tennis more, as a whole. He also credits a piece of advice from his long-time manager and close confidante Georgi Stoimenov for his ability to remain even-keeled through the rollercoaster that is the tennis circuit.

“I think the highs shouldn’t be that high and the lows shouldn’t be that low. Someone very close to me said that,” he says while pointing to Stoimenov, who was standing nearby.

It’s an approach that appears to be working for him just fine at the moment. And with it, a new milestone potentially awaits Monday night.